Abortion has taken center stage in one of the nation's most competitive congressional races after the Democratic incumbent endorsed taxpayer funded, late-term abortion despite campaigning as a moderate in 2018.
Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D., N.M.) said in a Q&A with the Albuquerque Journal Wednesday that abortion is a medical option that "should not be limited."
"Most women faced with a late-term abortion are in the midst of a medical crisis, and medical options should not be limited," Torres Small said. "Prohibiting the use of tax dollars on abortion procedures means that low-income women … would not have access to life-saving medical procedures."
The statement contradicts Torres Small's presentation of herself as a moderate candidate. Her Republican opponent, Yvette Herrell, called Torres Small "out of touch."
"Xochitl Torres Small worked for Planned Parenthood for years, and now she’s carrying out their radical abortion-on-demand agenda in Congress," Michael Horanburg, Herrell's campaign manager, told the Washington Free Beacon.
Torres Small defeated Herrell by less than a 2 percent margin in a district that President Trump won by 10 percent in 2016. Her 2018 victory helped to swing control of the House of Representatives to Democrats for the first time since 2010.
Torres Small's support for unrestricted abortion comes as the congresswoman enjoys financial support from some of the nation's biggest pro-abortion interest groups. Emily's List ranks as her campaign's biggest donor, pouring more than $100,000 into the race, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Biden holds a solid lead over Trump in New Mexico, according to public polls, but the rematch between Herrell and Torres Small remains too close to call.
Torres Small's campaign, which declined comment, has gone to great lengths to distance her from the sharp leftward shift of the Democratic Party on the campaign trail. One of Torres Small's 2020 campaign advertisements shows her shooting several different firearms in the desert. She made a similar pitch in 2018 when she unveiled an advertisement featuring her shooting a rifle to appeal to rural voters, and told voters that she sought to "campaign right down the middle."
During her term, Torres Small has pushed back against different elements in the Democratic Party. She voted against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's (D., Calif.) $3 trillion coronavirus bill in May. Torres Small also criticized Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) when Ocasio-Cortez celebrated plunging oil prices in April. Torres Small accused Ocasio-Cortez of taking joy in the suffering of oil workers. Horanburg, however, said that Torres Small's shift on abortion shows that she has embraced the most radical positions of the Democratic party.
"Torres Small's support for taxpayer funded late term abortion is disturbing and out of touch with our New Mexico values," he said.
An Albuquerque Journal poll conducted before Labor Day found Torres Small with a 2-point lead, but the race remains a toss-up in the closing weeks of the 2020 campaign, according to Real Clear Politics.