Luján won’t run for Senate
“Lujan, currently in his second term, had been seriously considering running for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, but Rep. Martin Heinrich’s ability to quickly coalesce the support of national Democrats likely weighed heavily on his decision.”
Luján had everything to lose by giving up a relatively safe House seat to run against Heinrich. And with State Auditor Hector Balderas getting into the Senate race this week, there would have been two credible Hispanic candidates and Heinrich, which conventional wisdom suggests would have increased Heinrich’s chances.
The other Democrat in the race is little-known community activist Andres Valdez.
On the Republican side, former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson and two lesser-known candidates – Greg Sowards and William S. English – have entered the Senate race. Lt. Gov. John Sanchez is seriously considering entering the race, and U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce says he’s also considering running.
However, most sources doubt that Pearce will give up his House seat to run for Senate, considering that he lost another Senate race in 2008.
Update, 4:45 p.m.
Here’s Luján’s statement confirming he’s not running for Senate, but will instead seek re-election to his House seat:
“I appreciate the outpouring of support I have received while traveling around New Mexico these past few months, and my focus will continue to remain on serving the hard-working men and women of New Mexico – fighting to turn our economy around, put people back to work, and move our state forward. After careful consideration, I have decided that I will not seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate race.”
“I look forward to building on my work as chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ BOLD PAC and as a member of the DCCC’s recruiting committee to recruit strong candidates who reflect the growing diversity of our country and who will be a part of our effort to take back the House. With BOLD PAC’s historic first quarter fundraising numbers and Census numbers showing the growth in the Hispanic community across the country, I am excited about the favorable position we will be in to energize Hispanic voters and help elect strong Democratic candidates.”
Also, you can read the National Journal’s report on Luján’s decision here. The money quote:
“Lujan’s decision is likely a break for Balderas, who filed statement of candidacy papers last week and is set to officially announce his candidacy this week. As prominent Hispanic pols, Balderas and Lujan could have split a big chunk of the Hispanic vote, allowing Heinrich to take advantage.”
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