A Democratic candidate in one of the most competitive House races in the country previously vowed he would “fully support” halving the police budget of the city in which he served as a member of the city council.
Fox News Digital obtained a number of emails sent in 2020 by then-Las Cruces, New Mexico, City Council member Gabriel Vasquez expressing support for defunding police, as well as for the Black Lives Matter movement, in the wake of the unrest gripping the nation following the death of George Floyd.
“I wholeheartedly and absolutely support police reform and the #blacklivesmatter movement, and will not be stopping short of transformational reform that brings justice to our city and to people of color in our community. You can count on my support,” Vasquez wrote to a constituent demanding “at least” a 50% reduction of the Las Cruces police department budget.
Vasquez, who is running to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District, told another constituent calling for the diversion of funds away from the police and into other services that he felt the “same way.”
Additionally, Vasquez simply said “I agree,” in response to an email calling for “defunding the police department and moving those funds to strengthening social programs,” as well as a number of changes to police procedures.
Another email showed Vasquez pushing back on a constituent expressing concern over defend the police policies, telling him he disagreed with him.
Despite Vasquez’s expressed support for defunding the police, violent crime in his city rose in 2020 by 25% from the previous year, while property crime rose 23% in the same time frame, according to the Las Cruces Police Department.
The revelations of Vasquez’s emails also come as crime continues to surge in cities across the country and remains a focal point for voters as they head to the polls for the November midterm elections.
Fox News Digital reached out to Vasquez’s campaign for comment and received a response from Vasquez after publishing.
“I oppose defunding the police,” he said. “As a Las Cruces Councilmember, I repeatedly voted to increase funding for the police and partnered with them, while supporting common sense reforms.”
“Republicans know Yvette Herrell is about to lose this seat and that is why they are desperately trying to distort my record. It won’t work,” he added. “There is only one candidate who has voted to defund our law enforcement, and that’s Yvette Herrell, who in Congress voted against millions of dollars in funding for New Mexican police officers and Border Patrol officers.”
Fox News’ Power Rankings has rated the race between Vasquez and Herrell as a toss-up.
The election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.