This story is a staff report from The Paper.

One of the state senate’s most vocal Republicans is entering the race for Deb Haaland’s soon-to-be vacant congressional seat. Senator Mark Moores announced his intent yesterday in a message to Republican State Central Committee members who will choose the Republican nominee in the coming weeks.

In his announcement, Moores touts his experience serving in the state senate where he “fights progressives and their radical agendas.” Moores has been widely mentioned as a possible candidate for governor in 2022 against Democrat incumbent Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Moores was ranked the most conservative member of the state legislature in 2019 by the American Conservative Union, the group that sponsors the annual CPAC gathering. He was, however, just one of 2 Republican senators to support a strategy to legalize cannabis in New Mexico through the use of state-operated stores. That legislation failed in 2019.

Haaland is expected to be confirmed Monday afternoon, setting up a timeline for her to resign her seat in Congress this week. State parties would then pick their candidates through internal party voting. Whomever the parties pick as their final candidates in the special election, the Democrat is highly favored in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans 47%-28% (24% of voters do not affiliate with a party).

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This story is a staff report from The Paper.

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