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 HaalandHaaland, Davids included in 'Jeopardy' clue for historic first as Native American congresswomen Pelosi announces Porter, Haaland will sit on Oversight panel Overnight Energy: House Dems propose halt to drilling on public lands | Former Van Drew staffers land jobs at Energy committee | Defense bill passes without key measures on 'forever chemicals' 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 ClintonCollins walks impeachment tightrope Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders for 'inability to actually fight with bad actors' in party Hill.TV's Krystal Ball knocks Clinton's 'mean girl' comments against Sanders MORE carried the state by 8 percentage points in 2016.