SENATOR SANCHEZ? -- There is much buzz over Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., and whether she will return from the two-week congressional break to announce that she’s in the running for Sen. Boxer’s Senate seat. In January, Boxer announced she would not be seeking re-election in 2016. There are expectations Sanchez would announce next week that she is in. Sanchez’s chief of staff Jennifer Warburton said in an email Friday "she may make a decision as early as next week, but she has not made a final decision as of today. No firm announcement has been set either way." State Attorney General Kamala Harris has been considered the party favorite, but Latino operatives have argued to party leaders that it may be time for the state with the largest Latino population - 14 million - to have a Latino senator. The recent legal troubles of Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., further spotlights the fact that the party could, if the corruption charges against Menendez hold up, end up with no Democratic Latinos in the Senate.
ARE LATINOS CONSERVATIVE? -- As Mark Murray reported in NBC News' First Read, an MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist poll showed that about a third of Latinos identified as conservative while 47 percent in a separate question identified as Democrats - a reminder to Republicans there is not necessarily a clear "path" between Latino conservatives and the GOP. There were likely a lot of Latinos nodding in affirmation and thinking: 'We’re sort of "outside the box" like that.' There’s a strong sense of social justice among many Latinos, often an outgrowth of living in countries where there was so little. But there’s also a religiosity that means Latinos may not be in the same place as other Democratic voters on an issue such as abortion. There’s a likelihood of finding a more conservative streak among older Latinos, but a Public Religion Research Institute poll issued late last month found 54 percent of Latinos ages 18 to 35 thought abortion should be illegal in most cases. Still 46 percent agreed having an abortion could be the most responsible decision for a woman to make. So not only is there diversity within the Latino community - Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans etc. - but also an ideological diversity that doesn’t quite fit in the standard ideas of conservative and liberal.
LATINO PIPELINE FLOWING -- Raul Danny Vargas could give Latinos a presence in the Virginia Assembly. Vargas, of Puerto Rican descent but born and and raised in New York City, is the Republican nominee for the 86th District of the Virginia’s House of Delegates. He faced no opposition in the primary for the district that is about 22 percent Latino, but has a Democratic opponent, who is not Hispanic, this November. Vargas, founder of a marketing and public relations firm who wrote opinion articles for NBCLatino.com, has served as chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly as well on the board of the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, working with the likes of Democratic donor Eva Longoria. As of Feb. 2015, there was only one Latino in the Virginia Assembly, according to research by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. One other Latino running for the Assembly is Jason Miyares, of Cuban descent, in the 82nd District.
NO BORDER CRUZ -- Presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz won’t be making a trip to the border after all. Texas A&M International University’s media spokesman Steve Harmon said the university was notified last Friday that Cruz would not be able to “join” the university on the Texas-Mexico border for a May 22 commencement ceremony. Cruz’s campaign had inquired about him speaking at the Laredo, Texas university’s graduation. Cruz had faced criticism in the past regarding his failure to visit the border when tens of thousands of children were arriving there. The ceremony would have occurred just about the same time last year that the news burst onto the headlines.
DEATH IN DEPORTATION -- Next Friday the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals holds a hearing on the attempt by the federal government to move forward with the president’s immigration executive action programs, now blocked by a Texas judge’s temporary injunction. Meanwhile deportations have continued. On Sunday, an immigration reform activist in Iowa and former Mexico police officer who was deported to Mexico in 2011 was shot and killed in that country, according to report by The Associated Press. The man, Constantino Morales had been denied asylum in the U.S. in February 2014. Morales had once told former Rep. Tom Latham, “If I am sent back, I will face more violence and I could lose my life,” the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, the group Morales had worked with to fight for immigration reform and immigrant protections, said in a statement.