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Why the NRCC Says These Vulnerable House Dems Are Now 'Doomed'

The National Republican Congressional Committee issued a memo on Tuesday outlining why it believes the reelection prospects for three House Democrats are now in jeopardy.

Looking at how the races ended for former Democratic Representatives Kendra Horn of Oklahoma and Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico, the NRCC believes the handwriting is on the wall for Reps. Mary Peltola of Alaska, Yadira Caraveo of Colorado, and Gabe Vasquez of New Mexico.   

In the cases of both Horn and Small, the energy industry is critical to the areas they represented, but their work in Congress was out of step with where their constituents stood on the issue. Republicans successfully painted Horn as “someone who betrayed Oklahomans by not doing enough to support the energy industry,” according to the NRCC memo. Despite being in a good position to win reelection, her polling numbers tanked after GOP ad campaigns targeting her on this issue and she ended up losing by 4.2 percentage points.

It was a similar story for Torres Small, who aligned herself with radical environmentalists in New Mexico. She lost her race by over 7 points.

Based on these case studies, the NRCC believes that Peltola, Caraveo, and Vasquez will have similar political fates based on their opposition to H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act, which passed in the House last month and delivers on a GOP commitment to U.S. energy production and reducing red tape that’s making economic growth difficult.

The majority of vulnerable House Democrats took an ill-advised votes against HR 1. However, for the likes of Mary Peltola, Yadira Caraveo or Gabe Vasquez, this vote is likely the beginning of the end of their reelection campaign. 

Why? The impact of oil & gas production on their respective states’ budgets & local economies is outsized. 

For example, in Peltola’s Alaska, in 2019 oil & gas production supported more than 47,300 total jobs, contributed $3.1 billion to state & local taxes, and is the “single most important economic engine in the state.” 

In Colorado where Caraveo represents regions critical to the state’s oil & gas production, one in eight jobs in the state are supported by the energy industry & in 2019 contributed $46.1 billion to the state’s GDP. 

Gabe Vasquez’s vote against HR 1 was a slap in the face to the 61,720 energy jobs in NM-02 where taxes from oil and gas production fund a large portion of the public school system and 25% of state and local budgets. (NRCC)

"When Members put an extreme anti-energy ideology over the practical concerns of their districts, the ad scripts write themselves," the NRCC said. 

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