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New Mexico Democrat Distances Herself from Joe Biden Over Pledge to End Oil Industry

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Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM) distanced herself from comments by former Vice President Joe Biden in the presidential debate Thursday night, after he pledged to “transition from the oil industry.”

Biden made the comment as he attempted to defend his record on fracking, a technique that allows oil and gas to be extracted by breaking up rock formations deep underground. During the Democratic primary, Biden pledged to end fracking, but has since backtracked.

The following exchange ensued:

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Would you close down the oil industry?

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I would transition from the oil industry, yes.

TRUMP: Oh, that’s a big statement.

BIDEN: It is a big statement.

KRISTEN WELKER: Why would you do that?

BIDEN: Because the oil industry pollutes. It has to be replaced by renewable energy over time. And I’d stop giving federal subsidies to the oil industry. He won’t give federal subsidies to solar and wind. Why are we giving it to the oil industry?

TRUMP: We actually do give it to solar and wind. And that’s maybe the biggest statement, in terms of business, because basically what he’s saying is he’s going to destroy the oil industry. Will you remember that, Texas? Will you remember that, Pennsylvania? Oklahoma? Ohio?

Trump could well have mentioned New Mexico as well. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the state whose nickname is the “Land of Enchantment” is also among the top ten energy-producing states in the U.S. It has 7% of U.S. oil reserves and is the third-largest oil-producing state, enjoying rapid growth in recent years.

Rep. Small tweeted:

I disagree with VP Biden’s statement tonight. Energy is part of the backbone of New Mexico’s economy. We need to work together to promote responsible energy production and stop climate change, not demonize a single industry. 1/2

— Xochitl Torres Small (@XochforCongress) October 23, 2020

I will continue to stand up to my party when they’re out of touch with the reality on the ground in #NM02. 2/2

— Xochitl Torres Small (@XochforCongress) October 23, 2020

Rep. Small, who won a close race in 2018 for the state’s second congressional district, faces a tough re-election fight in 2020 against her former opponent, veteran state legislator Yvette Herrell.

Trump attempted to win New Mexico in 2016, even visiting Albuquerque in the closing days of the campaign, but fell short. Biden’s statement may have put the state — and the second district — in play.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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