Udall says he will not seek reelection in 2020

Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallSenate set to bypass Iran fight amid growing tensions EXCLUSIVE: Trump: I do not need congressional approval to strike Iran Overnight Defense: Trump says he doesn't need Congress to approve Iran strikes in interview with The Hill | New sanctions hit Iran's supreme leader | Schumer seeks to delay defense bill amid Iran tensions | Esper's first day as acting Pentagon chief MORE (D-N.M.) announced on Monday that he will not seek reelection in 2020, leaving the Senate seat he has held since 2009 up for grabs. 

“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," Udall said in a statement. 

“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.” 

ADVERTISEMENT

Udall, 70, insisted that he is “not retiring” and that he would “find new ways to serve New Mexico and our country after I finish this term.”

He also said that by foregoing a campaign for a third term in office, he was freeing himself up to work on legislative matters.

“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,” Udall said.

It’s not yet clear who could step in to run for Udall’s seat in 2020, though the race is likely to lean in Democrats’ favor.

Udall won his first term in the Senate in 2008 by more than 20 points and his 2014 reelection by more than 10 points.

And last year, Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichOvernight Energy: Democrats ask if EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions | Dem senators want NBC debate focused on climate change | 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan Democratic senators want NBC primary debate to focus on climate change Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' MORE (D-N.M.) carried the state by more than 20 points to win a second term in the chamber. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden to debate for first time as front-runner Top Trump ally says potential Amash presidential bid could be problematic in Michigan Chaotic Trump transition leaks: Debates must tackle how Democrats will govern differently MORE won the state by more than 8 points in the 2016 presidential election. 

Currently, not a single member of New Mexico’s five-person congressional delegation is a Republican.

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, currently puts the 2020 Senate race in New Mexico in the “solid” Democratic column.

"The Democratic Party’s lurch toward socialism has even longtime Party leaders running for the hills," said Jesse Hunt, the communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "The people of New Mexico deserve a Senator who will fight for more jobs, lower taxes, and safer communities and we look forward to fielding a strong candidate in the New Mexico Senate race."

-- Updated at 1:44 p.m.