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Rep. Xochitl Torres Small is a first-term congresswoman representing New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional district; a sprawling and typically conservative portion of the state that hadn’t sent a Democrat to Congress in years before Torres Small scored an upset in the 2018 blue wave. Back then Torres Small presented herself as a supporter of the Second Amendment, even cutting an ad featuring her firing a shotgun while pretending to hunt.
CBS News covered the ad upon its release, calling it a signal “to the conservative district she hopes to represent that she’s not the kind of Democrat who wants to take away its guns.”
After she narrowly won election, however, Torres Small quickly embraced the Democrats’ gun control agenda, voting in favor of universal background checks while still presenting herself as a “gun owner and hunter” in interactions with residents. The Las Cruces Sun-News highlighted one exchange back in 2019.
Asked for her preferred action on gun regulations, on a night falling about a month after the Aug. 3 mass shooting in nearby El Paso, Torres Small said, “The second amendment right (to bear arms) comes with its responsibilities, and that’s why I voted for comprehensive background checks. Because I think, like most gun owners do, that we have to act responsibly and make sure we’re keeping our communities safe.”
Reminding the audience that she was a gun-owner and hunter, Torres Small said that she reviews gun control legislation asking “the questions a gun owner would ask.”
Well, here’s one question a gun owner would ask: why on earth would anyone claiming to be a Second Amendment supporter hire a veteran of Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety to be her campaign manager?
The Las Cruces Democrat recently announced that she had hired Emma Caccamo to win reelection in what is expected to be a close race in southern New Mexico’s swing district. Caccamo is the former campaign manager for Democratic U.S. House hopeful Teresa Leger Fernandez in northern New Mexico.
Before working for Leger Fernandez, Caccamo served as deputy political director for Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonpartisan advocacy group that pushes for gun control and against gun violence. But some conservatives see the group and any proposed gun control measures as an attack on gun rights.
Michael Horanburg, campaign manager for Torres Small’s Republican challenger Yvette Herrell, said the hire reeked of hypocrisy from the Democratic congresswoman who shot a rifle in 2018 campaign television ads and often reminded voters in the rural region she was a hunter.
“This is yet another example of Xochitl Torres Small saying one thing to get elected and doing the opposite when it matters,” Horanburg said. “By hiring a radical anti-gun operative to run her campaign Torres Small is again proving she does not support our Second Amendment, and that her actions are totally out of step with the values of New Mexico’s Second District.”
Caccamo wasn’t just some low-level staffer or volunteer with Everytown for Gun Safety. The role of deputy political director meant that Caccamo was intimately involved in developing strategies to gut the Second Amendment rights of Americans, including those living in Torres Small’s congressional district. In fact, Caccamo spent more than four years at Everytown for Gun Safety, according to her LinkedIn profile, starting out as “special assistant to the president” in 2014 and working her way up the ranks of the anti-gun organization until she was named deputy political director in January of 2019.
Caccamo served in that role for six months before departing the organization in June of last year to become campaign manager for Teresa Leger Fernandez, another New Mexico Democrat who’s running in the state’s 3rd congressional district. Now she’s joined the Torres Small campaign as its new manager, and it’s no surprise that Republicans in the district are pointing to the hire as yet another sign that Torres Small says one thing when she’s at home in the conservative district, and something else entirely when she’s voting in Washington, D.C.
The race between Torres Small and GOP challenger Yvette Herrell is a rematch of 2018, when the Democrat ended up winning 51-49 over the Republican, who spent nearly a decade in the New Mexico state legislature. Torres Small’s embrace of a longtime staffer of the biggest gun control group in the country should raise some eyebrows in the district, and while her campaign has so far avoided making any comment about the new hire, you can be sure that voters will be demanding answers in the days to come.