Longtime U.S. Senator Tom Udall announced he will not run for re-election in 2020.
Senator Udall, a Democrat, still has more than a year and a half left in his term, but big names from his party are being tossed around to take his place.
Political experts say Attorney General Hector Balderas and Congressman Ben Ray Lujan are at the top of the list.
“Anytime you have an open seat for a U.S. Senate position in New Mexico, you’re going to have a lot of people who are going to speculate about it and they’re going to look themselves in the mirror and think about whether or not this is too good of an opportunity to pass up,” says Gabriel Sanchez.
As far as Republicans go, Political Analyst Gabriel Sanchez says there are only a few names that stand out: former Governor Susana Martinez and former Congressman Steve Pearce.
Sanchez says the 2018 election was rough on the Republican party, and they’re going to have to go into this aggressively if they want to stand out against the Democrats.
Udall has served New Mexico on Capitol Hill for more than 20 years and will turn 71-years old in May. He was the Attorney General, a House Representative, and now his two terms as Senator.
Since winning his Congressional race in 1998, no one has come within ten points of beating him.
In his video announcement Monday, Udall says this decision was not easy and he will continue to do what he can to serve New Mexico and the country.
“I’ll continue leading the fight against the special interest to pass the for the people act, to strengthen voting rights, end citizens united and eliminate dark money in political campaigns,” says Udall.
Sanchez believes working in Washington at this time, as a Democrat, has been very difficult for Udall, especially because of the Trump Administration.
No one has announced a run for Udall’s seat just yet, but Sanchez believes the Democrats have already been working to get Udall’s endorsement.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller today quickly shot down the idea of running for Udall’s seat. He says it’s an honor to be considered, but he’s committed to serving the people of this city.
Udall began serving as United States Senator in 2009. He was then re-elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014 and is now New Mexico’s senior senator.
Read Udall’s full message below:
When I first ran for Senate, I promised that I would give my all for the people of New Mexico. And I reminded myself that this Senate seat is not my seat. It is New Mexico’s seat.
I was proud to serve as New Mexico’s Attorney General, then in the U.S. House, and now two terms as your senator. I’m confident that we could run a strong campaign next year to earn a third term, because of all the work you and I have done together, along with my wife, Jill, and my incredibly dedicated staff.
But the worst thing anyone in public office can do is believe the office belongs to them, rather than to the people they represent. That’s why I’m announcing today that I won’t be seeking re-election next year.
Now, I’m most certainly not retiring. I intend to find new ways to serve New Mexico and our country after I finish this term. There will be more chapters in my public service to do what needs to be done.
In fact, I see these next two years as an incredible opportunity. Without the distraction of another campaign, I can get so much more done to help reverse the damage done to our planet, end the scourge of war, and to stop this president’s assault on our democracy and our communities.
These are three real crises that are happening right now and are threatening the very foundations of our great nation. If we don’t do something, it will soon be too late.
That’s why, when I go back to Washington tomorrow, I’m going right back to work. To fight the urgent threat of climate change, dramatically expand clean energy and to protect our public lands and forests.
I’ll continue leading the fight against the special interests, to pass the For the People Act to strengthen voting rights, end Citizens United and eliminate dark money in political campaigns.
And I’m going to keep working to end unauthorized wars. This month, I introduced a resolution to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home. And I’ve warned this president that he can’t attack Iran or North Korea unless Congress — as required by the Constitution — declares war. Too many families across our state and this country have sacrificed enough.
I love New Mexico, and because I’m so honored to have your trust to represent you in the Senate, leaving this job was not an easy decision to make.
But that day is almost two years off. And, until then, I’m going to make the most out of each and every hour I have left as your senator. I’m absolutely committed to changing the course that this president has set for our country.
We’ve got so much left to do to stand up for what we believe in. Thank you, God bless you and God bless New Mexico.