Judge Sal Mendoza Jr. cleared another hurdle Thursday on his quest to be a federal jurist in Eastern Washington.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 17-1 in favor of sending the Benton-Franklin Superior Court judge's nomination to the full Senate.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, reportedly had the lone dissenting vote.
Mendoza is up for a lifetime appointment to U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Washington. He would replace Judge Lonny Suko, who went to senior status in November.
Mendoza was one of six pending nominations considered Thursday during the committee's executive business meeting. It can take a few months before the Senate considers his nomination and, if endorsed by a majority, it will return to President Obama for confirmation.
Mendoza was nominated Jan. 16 by Obama. The judge went before the committee March 12 in Washington, D.C., and only had to answer one general question.
Also awaiting approval is Stan Bastian, a Wenatchee lawyer who was nominated in September to replace Judge Ed Shea in Richland.