Swearing in of New Mexico reps on hold: A closer look at CD-2

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – In Washington D.C., it remains unclear who will be the new speaker of the House. With Republicans having such a narrow majority even a small number have the power to block this or any other vote.

On Tuesday, for the first time in 100 years, the majority party was unable to elect a new speaker within the first round of voting.

A small band of far-right Republicans voted in opposition to Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California. To make matters more complicated, the chamber can not address any other business until a speaker is elected.

“I will always fight to put the American people first, not a few individuals that want something for themselves,” said McCarthy. 

“If you want to drain the swamp you cannot put the biggest alligator in charge of the exercise,” said Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats unanimously elected New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries as House minority leader — the first Black leader of either party in Congress.

With the chaos in the House, nothing can get done. House rules say a speaker must be elected first — before other actions are taken. That means three New Mexico representatives didn’t get to be sworn on Tuesday, including the newest representative Gabe Vasquez. 

A video posted to Twitter suggests a party-like atmosphere in representative Gabe Vasquez’s office Tuesday. He posed for photos with his fellow representatives from New Mexico, congresswomen Teresa Leger Fernández and Melanie Stansbury. 

Vasquez was supposed to be sworn into office but for now, that’s on hold. 

Under current House rules the speaker is elected first and then sworn in by the longest-serving member of Congress. The new House speaker then swears in the rest of the members.

This is the first time in 100 years the swearing-in of members of Congress has been delayed by the House failing to elect a speaker. 

Once he is sworn in, Vasquez will represent New Mexico’s Congressional District 2 in Washington, D.C. He’s the third representative for the district in as many terms. 

Democrat Xochitl Torres Small won the seat in 2018 in a race against Rep. Yvette Herrell. 

Herrell ran again in 2020 and managed to unseat Torres Small. 

Then last November, Vasquez eked out a narrow victory against Herrell in a redrawn Congressional District 2.  

Just before leaving office, Herrell released a statement suggesting she has plans to run again in two years. 

She wrote: “Serving the hardworking families of New Mexico has been my greatest honor, and I’m not done yet.”

We’ll see if that translates to a fourth bid for Congress in 2024. 

In the meantime, Vasquez joins representatives Stansbury, and Leger Fernandez in Congress for the next two years. 

“I’m particularly excited this year, because we’re launching this Congress with an all Democrat leadership from New Mexico. And, you know, we are ready to fight for New Mexico to fight for the communities that elected us,” said Stansbury.