Claire Chase, a Roswell oil executive, said Tuesday she raised $510,790 in her first 35 days as a Republican candidate for Congress in Southern New Mexico, an amount she said was more than her primary opponent Yvette Herrell took in during the entire 2018 primary.

Chase announced in late August she would seek the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small to represent the 2nd Congressional District.

Herrell ran for the 2nd District seat in 2018 and narrowly lost to Torres Small, a Democrat, in a largely Republican district that voted for President Donald Trump in 2016.

“We cannot let the Democrats win yet another upset in this GOP district,” Chase in a statement on Tuesday. “When I announced a few weeks ago, I promised to run an aggressive campaign that would put the Democrats on notice.”

In a statement to the Associated Press, Dakotah Parshall, Herrell’s campaign manager, said he isn’t surprised by Chase’s fundraising numbers because she “married into the wealthiest family in the state.”

Chase is married to Chance Chase — the grandson of New Mexico oil and natural gas tycoon Mack Chase. He founded Mack Energy, which is still owned by the family.

“To win this seat back in November, we need to nominate a pro-Trump conservative like Yvette Herrell,” Parshall said.

Torres Small raised just over $1 million in the first half of this year, while Herrell raised $311,415 during that period, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Their third quarter contributions were not yet posted on the commission’s website. Candidates have until Oct. 15 to report those numbers.

Senate race

In a separate race, U.S. Senate candidate Ben Ray Luján raised $1.01 million during the third quarter, which his campaign said was the highest amount ever raised for a Senate candidate from New Mexico in the same time period.

Luján, currently a congressman representing New Mexico’s 3rd District, will compete with New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver in the Democratic primary. The seat is held by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., who is retiring.

Gavin Clarkson of Las Cruces and Mick Rich, who lost a U.S. Senate race in 2016, are running for the seat as Republicans.

Third quarter contribution totals for Toulouse Oliver, Rich and Clarkson were not available on the commission’s website.


Jens Erik Gould covers politics for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He was a correspondent for Bloomberg News in Mexico City, a regular contributor for TIME in California, and produced the video series Bravery Tapes.

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