Republicans Criticize New Mexico Democrat for Racial Slur and Criminal Past


Rep. Gabe Vasquez (D-NM) is under significant scrutiny from Republicans following resurfaced criminal allegations from the past week.

Truth Voices confirmed a report that in 2004 Vasquez made a phone call to his former workplace, a call center, during which he used a racial slur. The New Mexico Democrat, who represents the state’s 2nd Congressional District—an area notable for its electoral volatility—faces renewed scrutiny following these revelations.

Vasquez, a self-identified first-generation Mexican American, was purportedly terminated for falsifying data at Research Data Design Incorporated. Following his firing, he allegedly made harassing calls to employees. During one such call, Vasquez referenced an employee in a derogatory manner, leading to a police report dated July 29, 2004. This report indicates Vasquez was charged with a misdemeanor: “USE OF TELE TO TERRIFY, INTIMIDATE, THREAT, HARASS.” The case was reportedly suspended in 2008, suggesting the investigation was eventually dropped.

Truth Voices confirmed the existence of the police report by accessing public records from the Las Cruces Police Department. Although the department did not explicitly confirm Vasquez was the individual named in the report, records linked to Gabriel Vasquez, sharing the same birthdate as the congressman, matched the allegations described.

New Mexico Republicans have seized on these details. GOP Chairman Steve Pearce commented, “Rep. Gabe Vasquez’s pattern of unacceptable behavior—using the N-word to harass his former work colleague, falsifying data, trying to evade police, displaying apparent anger issues, and repeatedly refusing to appear in court to address his charges—points to one conclusion: Gabe Vasquez does not possess the character worthy of a New Mexico representative.” Pearce called for Vasquez’s resignation and suggested voters support Republican candidate Yvette Herrell in response.

Truth Voices sought a comment from Vasquez’s office but received no response. Vasquez has previously denied the allegations, stating, “I have not and would never use language like this, this attack is categorically false. This is another example of how desperate Republicans are lying about my character rather than focusing on delivering for New Mexico.” He suggested the timing of the allegations was suspicious, coming shortly after video footage emerged of Herrell expressing strong anti-abortion views.

Herrell is Vasquez’s likely challenger in the 2024 election. She lost her congressional seat to Vasquez by less than 1 percentage point in the last cycle. At a 2020 Republican candidate forum, Herrell expressed a desire to eliminate all abortions in New Mexico.

Yvette Herrell appears at a news conference on Nov. 4, 2019, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Former Rep. Herrell was a victim of a partisan remap as Democrats who control the legislature redrew her district in the southern part of the state to be significantly more Democratic. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

Herrell labeled the incident involving the racial slur as “absolutely disgusting conduct.”

Among other allegations, Vasquez faced two arrests. In 2005, he was criminally cited for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. Both cases were resolved with criminal summonses and subsequently suspended.

During his period of legal trouble, Vasquez resided in Las Cruces and attended New Mexico State University. He was born in El Paso, Texas, and spent his early years in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Rep. Gabe Vasquez (D-NM) speaks during a news conference on June 15, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Vasquez ousted first-term Republican Yvette Herrell from New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District in 2022 after it was reshaped to include portions of Albuquerque. Herrell wants the GOP nomination for a rematch, launching her campaign in 2023 alongside then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

A separate report stated that Vasquez was subject to an arrest warrant for overdue traffic fees in Texas. His attorney denied any arrest occurred, suggesting administrative errors were to blame.

The allegations have emerged just as Vasquez gears up for what is expected to be a challenging electoral rematch with Herrell. These developments give Republicans additional leverage as Vasquez also contends with criticism over his management of illegal immigration.

Winning back this district would allow Republicans to reclaim a seat lost in 2022, breaking the Democrats’ current monopoly in the state.

Both Vasquez and Herrell are running unopposed in their respective primaries. The New Mexico Democrat has raised approximately $3 million, surpassing Herrell’s near $1.9 million, with a $1 million cash-on-hand advantage.

The Cook Political Report labels the race as a “Democrat Toss-Up,” and a recent poll in September 2023 showed Herrell holding a 1-point lead.

Ross O'Keefe
Ross O'Keefe
Breaking News Reporter. Ross pitches and writes polished quick-hit pieces about a variety of subjects with a focus on politics. He graduated from the University of Maryland's Phillip Merrill College of Journalism in 2023.

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