Udall says he will not seek reelection in 2020

Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOvernight Energy: EPA watchdog slams agency chief after deputy fails to cooperate in probe | Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act | Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows Hillicon Valley: Twitter to refuse all political ads | Trump camp blasts 'very dumb' decision | Ocasio-Cortez hails move | Zuckerberg doubles down on Facebook's ad policies | GOP senator blocks sweeping election reform bill GOP senator blocks sweeping election reform bill 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.” 

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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 HeinrichSenate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics This week: House to vote on Turkey sanctions bill Hillicon Valley: Facebook launches 'News Tab' | Senate passes bill to take on 'deepfakes' | Schumer outlines vision for electric cars MORE (D-N.M.) carried the state by more than 20 points to win a second term in the chamber. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Top diplomat said request for specific probes in Ukraine was 'contrary' to US policy Feehery: What Republicans must do to adapt to political realignment 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.