Ben Ray Luján to run for New Mexico Senate seat

Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D) on Monday said he would run for an open Senate seat in New Mexico, making him the first Democrat to formally enter the race to succeed retiring Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallAl Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress House passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' MORE (D).
 
Luján, the No. 4 Democrat in House leadership, becomes an instant front-runner for the seat. He built a national donor base as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, where he helped his party reclaim control of the House in the 2018 midterm elections.
 
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His early announcement may help keep some candidates out of the race — state Attorney General Hector Balderas (D) has already said he will not run.
 
But others are eyeing the race, too, including Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D) and Rep. Deb HaalandDebra HaalandRep. Haaland says Trump's 'go back' remarks 'perplexing and wrongheaded' to Native Americans Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses Snoop Dogg says US women's soccer team deserves same pay as 'sorry ass' men's team MORE (D), who said last week she is still thinking about running. A senior New Mexico Democrat said Oliver was openly speculating about a bid late last week, just after Udall said he would not seek a third term.
 
New Mexico, once a swing state, has turned reliably blue in recent years. No Republican has won a Senate seat there since Sen. Pete Domenici (R) won reelection in 2002, and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton5 things to know about Boris Johnson Trump says Omar will help him win Minnesota The Hill's Morning Report — Trump applauds two-year budget deal with 0 billion spending hike MORE carried the state by 8 percentage points in 2016.