Truth squads have a full-time job when it comes to investigating two-time congressional candidate Yvette Herrell.
Everything she says needs to be checked for accuracy. That’s because Herrell will say anything, no matter how preposterous or phony it might be.
She fights dirty and murders the truth. Now Herrell has gone further. She’s blaming unidentified cheats for her loss in the 2018 election in the 2nd Congressional District, which covers the southern half of New Mexico.
Herrell, a Republican who was running for an open seat, did something stupid soon after the polls closed. She gave a victory speech when she held a slender lead but thousands of votes were still to be counted.
Democrat Xochitl Torres Small pulled ahead and then defeated Herrell by 3,722 votes in a race where almost 200,000 people cast ballots.
Herrell’s victory party ended with a loss. It’s always embarrassing when the candidate goes flat before the Champagne.
She hopes to get a rematch against Torres Small this fall. But first Herrell would have to win a Republican primary. One of Herrell’s opponents has been taunting her for losing in a congressional district that Republicans had dominated.
To rebut the trash talk, Herrell has a new campaign ad on YouTube in which she portrays herself as a victim.
“On Election Day we won, but the Democrats took it away,” she intones. “Eight thousand absentee ballots appeared without voter ID protection, and hundreds marked after the deadline, many with signs of fraud.”
Herrell tries to make it sound like her enemies dug up extra ballots where none existed. Voting the cemetery is what they call it in big cities.
But New Mexico’s paper ballots record and trace every vote. Records are verifiable.
Herrell knows this. Still, she persists with her claims that Democrats doctored ballots to defeat her.
Flinging a non sequitur in her ad, she says: “And just like President Trump, if liberals can’t beat us, they’ll cheat us.”
Herrell ignores that Trump won his election by receiving the requisite number of votes in the electoral college. He didn’t win the popular vote, but that didn’t matter in the unusual system of presidential elections.
Trump’s residency in the White House is all the proof Herrell needs that the election wasn’t rigged against him. Had duplicitous ward bosses set out to steal votes, they would have pocketed enough to deny him the presidency.
But Herrell wants any excuse to tie herself to Trump before the Republican primary election in June.
Discarding history, she hopes at least some of the people will believe Democrats perpetrated fraud in the last election.
She can’t bring herself to admit that she lost to Torres Small, a fact that Republican voters know as well as Herrell does.
The final tally wasn’t a blowout, but it was decisive. Herrell, 55, was overconfident, believing she would best 35-year-old Torres Small in a district where Democrats usually don’t perform well, especially in midterm elections.
They hadn’t won the 2nd District since the Obama wave of 2008, another year when the congressional seat was open.
Torres Small’s victory had national significance. It helped Democrats reclaim the majority in the House of Representatives.
Herrell’s hot-air ad won’t help her chances of winning the Republican nomination. It telegraphs her most glaring weakness. She couldn’t beat Torres Small when neither had the advantage of incumbency.
Voters in the Republican primary might prefer a fresh face instead of the candidate who declared victory, lost the race and is still whining 15 months later.
Herrell’s ad features conspiracy theories, commas and reverence to Trump, probably in equal measure.
“United around our conservative values,” she says, “we’ll support President Trump, stop the socialists, stand for life, build the wall, defend the Second Amendment, protect our veterans and fight for our God-given freedoms.”
Voters have heard most of it before.
They knew Herrell was a sore loser. Now they know she’s a desperate campaigner.
Ringside Seat is an opinion column about people, politics and news. Contact Milan Simonich at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-986-3080.