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Herrell was the Republican nominee for New Mexico's 2nd congressional district in 2018, narrowly losing to DemocratXochitl Torres Small. She was the Republican nominee for the 2nd district again in 2020, and defeated Torres Small in a rematch.
Herrell has marked many "firsts": she is the first Republican Native woman elected to Congress, the first Cherokee woman, the third Native American woman, and the second Native woman from New Mexico elected to the House. She is the only Republican member of New Mexico's congressional delegation.
After graduating from ITT, Herrell returned to New Mexico, where she worked as a realtor in Alamogordo. She later worked as a real estate broker for Future Real Estate in Alamogordo.
New Mexico House of Representatives
In 2010, Herrell challenged incumbent District 51 Republican state Representative Gloria Vaughn in the June 1 Republican primary. Herrell won with 846 votes (54.2%), and went on to win the November 2 general election with 3,077 votes (62.9%) against Democratic nominee Susan Medina.
In 2012, Herrell was unopposed in both the June 5 Republican primary, which she won with 2,128 votes, and the November 6 general election, which she won with 7,750 votes.
U.S. House of Representatives
In 2018, Herrell was a candidate for the United States House of Representatives, and was defeated in a close race by political newcomer and Democratic attorney Xochitl Torres Small. The results were close on election night, with Herrell in the lead at the end of the night and some New Mexico media organizations projecting that she would win. The next day, more ballots were counted, narrowing Herrell's lead, and media organizations rescinded their initial projections. Absentee ballots made Torres Small the winner. Without offering evidence, Herrell alleged possible election fraud before conceding the race.
A 2018 Associated Press review of Herrell's campaign finance disclosure records found that she had failed to disclose that her real estate company earned $440,000 in contracts with two state agencies over five years. Herrell said she had submitted all required paperwork and that the allegations against her represented "an attack on my moral character" orchestrated by one of her opponents in the Republican congressional primary.
Herrell won the November general election and took office on January 3, 2021. She campaigned on a stronger southern U.S. border, supporting small businesses, and fighting overly tight government regulation.
In June 2021, Herrell was one of 49 House Republicans to vote to repeal the AUMF against Iraq.
In September 2021, Herrell was among 75 House Republicans to vote against the National Defense Authorization Act of 2022, which contains a provision that would require women to be drafted.
In an interview with the Albuquerque Journal, she said, "DACA needs to be reformed." She also said she "will not support any legislation that will impede on our Second Amendment" and supports allowing concealed carry on school property.
Herrell opposes abortion. While a member of the New Mexico House of Representatives in 2015, Herrell sponsored a bill that banned late-term abortion with exceptions for instances of sexual abuse, rape, or incest.
She has said that the federal government's role in public education should be limited.
Herrell has said that she supports legislation that improves water rights, private property rights, and the management of public lands.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Herrell attended events that did not comply with public health measures to hinder the spread of the virus, such as social distancing and face masks. Explaining why she did not wear a face mask while in a public gathering, Herrell said, "I was at an event, yes; no one in the audience was wearing a mask, so I didn't feel as though I needed to wear one in that particular setting." She criticized the virus mitigation strategies implemented by Democrats in New Mexico.