New Mexico oil group, GOP House hopeful condemn candidate ad | KOB 4
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New Mexico oil group, GOP House hopeful condemn candidate ad

 In this Dec. 18, 2019, file photo, Republican U.S. House hopeful Yvette Herrell of New Mexico waits for a news conference in Albuquerque, N.M. A March 2016 email from Herrell asked fellow Republican state legislators if they were interested in supporting U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for president and if they would like to sign an attached endorsement card. In this Dec. 18, 2019, file photo, Republican U.S. House hopeful Yvette Herrell of New Mexico waits for a news conference in Albuquerque, N.M. A March 2016 email from Herrell asked fellow Republican state legislators if they were interested in supporting U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for president and if they would like to sign an attached endorsement card. |  Photo: AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File

The Associated Press
Created: February 26, 2020 06:20 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A radio ad from a New Mexico GOP House candidate suggesting that her Republican oil executive opponent endorses “New Green Deal” policies pushed by liberal Democratic U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is drawing strong condemnation.

The ad paid by Yvette Herrell and airing on at least one Albuquerque-area conservative radio station Tuesday said Claire Chase refused to oppose a 2019 landmark energy state law that sets New Mexico on a path toward more renewable energy. At the time, Chase was chair of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, which took a neutral stance on the Energy Transition Act, later signed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

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The law sets aggressive goals for renewable energy development and aims to ease the economic pains of closing the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station near Farmington, New Mexico.

In the Herrell campaign ad, two men talk about how Chase “trashed (New Mexico) in oil and gas” by not actively opposing the Energy Transition Act. One of the men calls the law “AOC’s Green New Deal for New Mexico,” a reference to Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who sparks anger among conservative Republicans.

“You would think Claire Chase ... would step up to rescue, I don’t know, our entire energy industry,” one man says.

“She didn’t do a thing, did she?” the other man asks.

“Nope,” the man responds. The man then called the Roswell resident a “Santa Fe insider” who would cost the state oilfield jobs.

Chase’s campaign manager Mike Berg angrily denounced the “absurd” ad and said voters would reject a “dishonest career politician” like Herrell, a former state lawmaker.

“She’s lying because she’s embarrassed of her record as a career politician that supported massive tax increases and got caught deceiving voters about her support for President Trump,” Berg said, a reference to a 2016 email showing Herrell seeking support for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for president.

In a statement, the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association also strongly condemned the Herrell campaign for a “baseless political attack” against the group.

“With more than 1,000 members, NMOGA is committed to protecting the employees, businesses, and industry leaders who are responsible for more than 100,000 New Mexico jobs and $3.1 billion in funding for our state’s budget and public schools,” group spokesman Robert McEntyre said. “To suggest otherwise is simply false.”

Dakotah Parshall, Herrell’s campaign manager, dismissed complaints against the ad.

“When the time came to fight (the Energy Transition Act), Santa Fe lobbyist Claire Chase stood by and did nothing,” Parshall said. “If she won’t stand up to Gov. Lujan Grisham when the backbone of the New Mexico economy is under attack, why should we believe she’ll stand up to Nancy Pelosi in Congress?”

In an interview with The Associated Press earlier this month, Chase said she opposed government intervention in regulating oil and gas producers on greenhouse gases. She said the industry was looking to “market solutions” to fight climate change and wanted to keep methane gases.

Chase, Herrell and businessman Chris Mathys are vying for the GOP nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-Las Cruces, for a seat that represents southern New Mexico.

Torres Small defeated Herrell in 2018 by fewer than 3,000 votes to flip a traditionally Republican-leaning district on the U.S. border.


(Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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