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Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

At a Trump rally back in February in El Paso, Texas, the campaign saw an unexpected pattern in the attendee data — a large crowd of New Mexicans crossed the state line to be there.

  • "That was our first glimpse into the idea that there might be something happening," the Trump campaign's Tim Murtaugh told Axios.

Why it matters: Since then, New Mexico has become an unlikely target for the 2020 Trump campaign. It's the state with the highest percentage of Hispanics and Latinos (about 1 in 2 residents), and it's gone with Democrats in 6 of the last 7 general elections.

Reality check: Demographers and pollsters tell Axios it's highly unlikely Trump can win New Mexico's 5 electoral votes.

  • The state Latino population is overwhelmingly Democratic.
  • Major New Mexico cities are booming and moving left politically, while Republican strongholds are losing their share of the population.
  • Trump lost New Mexico in 2016, and his net approval rating has plummeted from +17 when he first took office to -13 as of July. The blue wave hit New Mexico hard in 2018.
  • America First — a prominent pro-Trump group — told Axios it doesn't have plans at this point to poll in New Mexico.

But it's an inexpensive bet to take for the RNC, given its relatively small population and centralized media, said Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling Inc.

  • The state economy was one of the last to recover from the recession, but has been doing well for the past year and a half, Sanderoff said.
  • The state was untapped in 2016, RNC spokesperson Rick Gorka told Axios.
  • New Mexico Democrats tend to have more conservative views than other Democrats on religious freedom, LGBTQ+ rights and abortion, and there are signs of rising Latino support for Trump, Gorka and Murtaugh said. The Democrat-led state Senate voted to keep a law that criminalizes abortion.
  • The percentage of immigrants is lower than other border states such as California, Texas and Arizona, according to Census data.
  • Trump's immigration policy and rhetoric may resonate in eastern New Mexico, aka "Little Texas," said Gabriel Sanchez of the University of New Mexico.

Go deeper

Federal judge says Florida ban on "sanctuary cities" racially motivated

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down parts of a Florida law aimed at banning local governments from establishing "sanctuary city" policies, arguing in part that the law is racially motivated and that it has the support of hate groups.

Why it matters: In a 110-page ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom said the law — signed and championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause because it was adopted with discriminatory motives.

Biden steps into the breach

Sen. Joe Manchin heads to a meeting with President Biden today. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

President Biden ramped up the pressure on his fellow Democrats Wednesday, calling a series of lawmakers to the White House in the hope of ending infighting and getting them in line.

Why it matters: Divisions within the party are threatening to derail Biden's top priorities. After several weeks of letting negotiations play out, the president is finally asserting his power to ensure his own party doesn't block his agenda.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Dems seek new green deal

Rep. Stephanie Murphy. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Democrats discussed with President Biden on Wednesday a plan to exempt billions of dollars of new climate spending from his requirement that his $3.5 trillion "soft" infrastructure plan be offset with additional revenue.

Why it matters: The accounting proposal — a version of "dynamic scoring" — would dramatically lower the amount of taxes Democrats would need to raise while creating wiggle room to increase the ultimate size of the package.

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