Biden nominates former Democrat congresswoman to key USDA post

Axios reported Friday that President Joe Biden had tapped former Democrat Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM) to serve as the undersecretary of rural development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). And while she may not want to admit it, that’s bad news for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

That’s because, according to Breitbart, many Washington insiders expected Torres Small to make another bid for Congress in the upcoming midterm elections — and she apparently had a good chance of reclaiming her seat and helping solidify another two years of Democrat control of Congress’ lower chamber.

In 2020, Torres Small lost her bid for re-election in New Mexico’s 2nd District to now-Rep. Yvette Herrell, a Republican whose chances of retaining her seat in the House were only bolstered by her former Democrat opponent’s ascension to the Biden administration.

Media touts diversity

In a statement announcing Biden’s nomination, the White House heralded Torres Small’s migrant heritage, as well as the work she’s done over the years to aid and protect New Mexico’s farmers and ranchers, with a particular focus on water rights and development in the more rural areas of the state.

Axios’ report noted that Torres Small’s nomination represented President Biden’s commitment to “diversity” in filling out his administration, even suggesting that the nod was a way for Biden to ensure his party would have “a deep — and diverse — bench for the future.”

Democrats are likely already looking to the future, though, in part because of Biden’s nominating choices. According to the Washington Examiner, Torres Small is now the fourth House Democrat to be picked for a spot in his administration.

The one-term congresswoman, who will almost certainly be confirmed to the role, would join fellow former Democratic New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland, who now serves as secretary of the interior.

Also plucked from Speaker Pelosi’s slim House majority were former Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), now head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Cedric Richmond (D-LA), now a senior adviser to President Biden, according to the Examiner.

Biden’s harvesting ground

Haaland has already been replaced by another Democrat in a recently held special election, the Examiner noted, and the odds are in favor of Democratic candidates similarly winning special elections to fill the vacancies left by Fudge and Richmond.

Still, all of these nominations have made Speaker Pelosi’s already slim majority in the House even more tenuous, and while she publicly stated that she was “thrilled” to see Torres Small nominated to the key USDA post, chances are good that she is quietly panicking about her dimming prospects looking to the 2022 midterms.

In fact, the Examiner noted that some House Democrats had not-so-quietly complained earlier this year that Biden’s culling of House Dems was reducing their chances at victory over Republicans in the 2022 cycle.

Things could change between now and next November, but at the moment, the future looks bleak for Pelosi and her fellow Dems in the House — and barring a significant change, they may as well go ahead and write off any chance at reclaiming the seat out of New Mexico’s 2nd District.

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