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Democrats rally in New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District

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Governor Lujan Grisham speaks to supporters in Las Cruces

Last weekend, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham headlined a reproductive rights rally in Las Cruces, helping drum up support for Democratic candidates on the ballot, including 2nd Congressional District candidate Gabe Vasquez.

“We’re the majority, and we’re feeling good, 24 days, and polls are showing Democrats ahead," the Governor said. "That’s because we’ve got strong candidates like the next Congressman, Gabe Vasquez. Right?”

Democrats rally to retake New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District

According to the Federal Election Commission, Gabe Vasquez’s campaign has spent nearly $2.5 million since September of 2021, attempting to unseat Republican Congresswoman Yvette Herrell. Vasquez says that his time as a Las Cruces City Council member has prepared him for the role of U.S. Congressman.

“I know what it takes to get state and federal funding to align together to actually help and support communities. That’s the experience that we need, I’m a candidate with no strings attached and that’s what I’m going to take to Congress," Vasquez said.

In the midst of a highly contested race, Vasquez said that he isn’t worried about Congresswoman Yvette Herrell riling up support with national political figures from the Republican Party.

“As you can see today, we’re talking to voters, we’re talking to New Mexicans. We have folks like Governor Lujan Grisham, our Secretary of State, our local City Council who are vouching for me as a candidate here in this district," Vasquez said. "We don’t have to bring in a Jim Jordan, one of the most extreme members of Congress, [or] Ted Cruz who escapes his constituents to go to Cancun during a crisis in his state. We have folks right here who are leaders in our community that have proven that they know what it takes for leadership in [Congressional District 2].”

Voter Leah Tookey said she hopes to see laws passed on a national level protecting access to abortion.

“We have to have a House and Senate that are willing to make some decisions and pass some laws that protect those rights for women all over this country. It's not a good idea to have half the states making abortion illegal and half the states making it legal, it doesn't make any sense," Tookey said. "We are at a tipping point for democracy. And I think this is all about saving our democracy.”

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Signs at the reproductive rights rally

For Las Cruces City Councilor Johana Bencomo, the fight for abortion rights is one of many issues in this election.

“The number one issue on the ballot for me is certainly the economy, and ensuring that people have their needs met, and ensuring that our most vulnerable are taken care of. But that definitely includes their body autonomy, I definitely feel like our body autonomy is on the ballot this year," Bencomo said.

While on stage, Vasquez pledged his support to fight for abortion rights on the congressional level.

“We have to make sure that we elect a Congress and that we elect a Senate that will be able to codify Roe vs. Wade into law in the next two years. And so we can and we will do that, because women’s healthcare rights are not just women’s healthcare rights. They are human rights. They are human rights!”

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Vasquez addresses the crowd at the Las Cruces rally

With the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, Democrats in New Mexico say they are highly energized, working to help their candidate win in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District.

Jonny Coker is a Multimedia Journalist for KRWG Public Media. He has lived in Southern New Mexico for most of his life, growing up in the small Village of Cloudcroft, and earning a degree in Journalism and Media Studies at New Mexico State University. Jonny believes that access to news and information is essential for a smoothly functioning society, and public media is one of the best ways to spread that knowledge.