NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – One of the candidates in the hotly contested congressional race in southern New Mexico is under fire from her own party over what she Tweeted following Thursday night’s presidential debate. Some New Mexico Democrats are calling out Rep. Xochitl Torres Small after she tried to distance herself from Joe Biden and his stance on energy and oil production.

“I would transition from the oil industry, yes,” said former Vice President Joe Biden.

“That is a big statement,” said President Donald Trump.

“Because I would stop,” said Biden.

“Why would you do that?” asked presidential debate moderator Kristen Welker.

“Because the oil industry pollutes significantly,” said Biden

During the last presidential debate, Pres. Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden went head to head over a range of issues, including energy and oil production.

“Because it has to be replaced by renewable energy over time, over time,” said Biden.

Biden said his goal is to have net zero emissions by the year 2050, which could impact the oil industry. It’s an industry New Mexico relies heavily on for its economy. After those comments from Biden, New Mexico’s Congressional District 2 Democratic Representative Xochitl Torres Small, whose district includes oil-rich southeast New Mexico, Tweeted:

The Tweet drew national attention from Republican Sen. Ted Cruz as well as criticism from Torres Small’s constituents and fellow lawmakers from her own party.

“I was watching the debate last night, just like millions of Americans and Vice President, soon-to-be President Biden in no way demonized the oil and gas industry,” said State Senator Jacob Candelaria (D- Albuquerque). “So I thought it was unfortunate the congresswoman chose to make that representation which is simply not true.”

Sen. Candelaria said although he supports Torres Small in her race, he said this is a policy disagreement.

“While I certainly understand the congresswoman’s advocacy and of course she represents the Permian basin, I think she can express those concerns without perpetuating really what is a false narrative that Democrats and the President, the Vice President are trying to demonize anybody,” said Sen. Candelaria.

Republican Yvette Herrell who is facing Torres Small said this in response:

Last night, Xochitl Torres Small’s candidate for president, Joe Biden, told all of America that he wants to end the oil and gas industry. Biden wants to shut down the industry that funds 40% of our state’s budget and provides tens of thousands of good-paying jobs for New Mexico families. And Xochitl Torres Small thinks Biden should be president! Torres Small was quick to pretend she disagreed with Biden’s statement, but as usual, her actions speak louder than her pandering. Her vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is a vote to destroy the industry that our district counts on.

KRQE News 13 reached out to Torres Small. Her office said they would get back to us but we never heard back.

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