Updated: October 23, 2020 06:44 PM
Created: October 23, 2020 05:00 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, who is locked in a tight race in New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District, is distancing herself from former Vice President Joe Biden's comments about the oil industry.
"I would transition from the oil industry," Biden said during Thursday night's debate.
Biden said the oil industry should be replaced by renewable energy over time. He also said he would stop giving the oil industry federal subsidies.
Torres Small was quick to tweet that she disagreed with the former vice president.
I disagree with VP Biden's statement tonight. Energy is part of the backbone of New Mexico’s economy. We need to work together to promote responsible energy production and stop climate change, not demonize a single industry. 1/2— Xochitl Torres Small (@XochforCongress) October 23, 2020
Torres Small's opponent is looking to seize on Biden's comments. She claimed that "Xochitl will still be voting for Joe Biden despite the fact that he demonizes the oil and gas industry."
UNM political science professor Dr. Lonna Atkeson said Biden's statement could play a factor in the race.
"They have a clear connection between those comments and the districts needs," she said. "I mean a lot of jobs in the district are related to oil and gas, in fact, a lot of jobs in the whole state are related to oil and gas, and a third of our budget is related to oil and gas."
According to the Secretary of State's Office this year, the 2nd Congressional District is made up of 39% registered Democratic voters, 36% Republican voters and 26% are either affiliated with another party or no party at all.
Atkeson said, however, those says those numbers don't tell the whole story.
"The 2nd Congressional District is the most competitive district in the state," she said. "There are a lot more Republicans in that district. In fact, in 2016 President Trump won that district."
Voters will ultimately decide whether the comments impact their choice. Early voting has started in New Mexico, and Election Day is Nov. 3.
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