In 2016, President Donald Trump won New Mexico’s 2nd district (NM-2) by ten points. Since 2000, NM-2 has consistently voted red in presidential elections, but in 2018 the district took a blue turn and elected Democrat Xochitl Torres Small.
Democrats flipped a total of 41 seats in the House of Representatives in 2018, including NM-2. The Cook Partisan Voting Index rates how strongly a congressional district leans Democratic or Republican Party. NM-2 scored R+6, indicating it should have been an easy win for the Republicans.
Now, Claire Chase, New Mexican businesswoman and mother of two, is running to win back her historically red district. The Federalist sat down with Chase to discuss her plans for NM-2 if elected.
Chrissy Clark (CC): What are some of the key points of your platform? What are the things that you’re laying in bed at night thinking about and waking up in the morning energized about?
Claire Chase (Chase): The number one issue is the border. I say that not to be generic, but because it truly is a problem It is by far the biggest issue that we’re facing in terms of national security. Having a sovereign nation, we deserve secure borders. And once we solve our border crisis, then we solve a lot of our other issues, which include health care, education, our crime rate is absolutely terrible. And it’s those things that keep me up at night as a mom, you know, raising children, I want to raise them in an environment that’s safe and healthy.
CC: What is the ultimate goal for you in terms of, I’m assuming you’re in favor the Trump border wall, but what are other steps towards immigration reform you would like to see?
Chase: I’m one thousand percent supportive of the president’s role [in immigration], and I want them to build [the wall] faster. But I also think that, when we think of immigration police, we cannot allow amnesty for the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants that are already here.
CC: What does education look like in New Mexico?
Chase: It’s the worst in the nation. We’re ranked 50th, which is absolutely heartbreaking as a mom. It’s crazy because we’re sitting on the greatest opportunity that New Mexico has ever had with the Permian Basin which is the number one oil producing resource in the world right now. And the president is so good at rolling back regulation that President Obama had put into place on industries like ours. What the president has done has allowed a lot of people to go back to work.
We have the opportunity to continue to grow that resource and we’re not doing that in the state of New Mexico. So why we will not say, “Hey, here we have this amazing resource, why don’t we make sure that our producers in New Mexico can continue to do what they do, and then help us do more for education.” We spend. We’re right in the middle on the list of spending per student, and at the bottom of the list in terms of outcomes. So, why is that? What’s broken in that system? That’s obviously more of a state-level issue than a federal issue. So vocational training, I think is incredibly important. Not everybody needs a four year degree.
CC: You look at the Green New Deal and other federal proposals right now in order to “protect environmental regulations” according to Democrats. But, there’s really no narrative about environmentalism on the right. How do you work with such proposals as the Green New Deal, but also uphold environmental standards?
Chase: The Green New Deal is a disaster. For a state like New Mexico, which is entirely dependent on oil and gas, it would literally bankrupt the state. How our Democrat leadership is not fighting back, why they are not banging down [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s] door and saying “this is ridiculous, this will bankrupt our state,” is beyond me. It’s just reflective of their unwillingness to actually do what’s right for New Mexico.
CC: Why do you think you’re the right person for this job?
Chase: I am running because like President Trump, I’m a political outsider who has spent the last six years protecting jobs. But my primary opponent is a failed career politician who lost a winnable seat last April in a district where the president won by 10 points. And if she runs again, the democrats have her playbook. They know how to beat her, and this seat is too critical to lose. So we need a political outsider can continue to work with President Trump to do all the good things that he’s done for our district.