Ben Ray Luján to run for New Mexico Senate seat

 
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 HaalandOvernight Energy: Dems press Interior chief to embrace climate action | Lawmakers at odds on how to regulate chemicals in water | Warren releases climate plan for military Warren releases plan to tackle climate change threats to military House Dem's bill would require ride-hailing companies to cover drivers' Social Security costs 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 ClintonDe Blasio pitches himself as tough New Yorker who can take on 'Don the con' From dive bars to steakhouses: How Iowa caucus staffers blow off steam Warren policy ideas show signs of paying off MORE carried the state by 8 percentage points in 2016.