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Photo courtesy of Mark Moores

The New Mexico Republican Party has nominated state Sen. Mark Moores, a Hispanic former football star at the University of New Mexico, as its candidate for the U.S. House seat formerly held by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

Why it matters: The GOP is seeking to build on the surprising number of Latino voters who supported former President Trump in 2020 by pushing Hispanic candidates. The Democratic Party faces criticism for ignoring Mexican American voters.

Driving the news: New Mexico Republican officials voted Saturday to give Moores the nomination for the state's central congressional seat, which represents Albuquerque.

  • Moores' mother's side of the family dates back to when early Spanish settlers lived in present-day New Mexico.
  • He beat other candidates who some Republicans said would only give Democrats token opposition.
  • The former offensive lineman is known as a Republican who works with Democrats in the statehouse on rural issues and the economy.

The intrigue: The seat has leaned Democratic in the last decade but Republicans are hopeful Moores can flip it with a high percentage of Hispanic voters.

  • In 2020, white, left-leaning Democrats ousted a number of Hispanic moderate state lawmakers during primaries, angering a number of Latino Democrats.
  • Democrats control both chambers of the state legislature in the nation's most Hispanic state, yet the leadership remains largely white.

The bottom line: New Mexico Democrats meet this week to pick their nominee, and they must navigate the anger expressed by Latinos and the need to name their strongest candidate.

  • The special election scheduled for June 1 could be an early indicator of how Latino voters assess President Biden's performance in office.

Go deeper

The GOP's new power centers

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signs the voting law. Photo: Gov. Brian Kemp's Twitter feed.

Democrats control Washington, but Republicans have a mighty counterweight that gets little attention: dominance in the states and the courts.

State of play: The GOP controls a majority of statehouses and state legislatures + more state Supreme Court justices lean Republican than Democrat. All of this is backed by Republican-appointed majorities on federal appeals courts and the U.S. Supreme court. 

Bernie Sanders: U.S. must recognize that "Palestinian rights matter"

Sen. Bernie Sanders. Photo: Stefani Reynolds via Getty Images

The United States must encourage an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East and adopt an "evenhanded approach" that recognizes Palestinians and Israelis have a right to "live in peace and security," Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) wrote in a New York Times opinion on Friday.

Driving the news: Violence escalated this week after Israelis intensified efforts to evict Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem. Hamas fired rockets and Israel massed troops, leaving more than 125 Palestinians and seven people in Israel dead.

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