Rep. Ben Ray Luján announces run for US Senate

New Mexico
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In 2020, we’ll see a major shakeup in New Mexico politics. New Mexico Congressman Ben Ray Lujan announced Monday he will run for the U.S. Senate. Now, others are eying his current job.

“I’m running to be your next United States senator,” he says in a video announcement.

Congressman Ben Ray Lujan announced his bid for the U.S. Senate.

Last week, current Senator Tom Udall, announced he would not be seeking another term.

“I’ve been humbled by all of the outreach encouraging me to run, and it’s been an honor to serve you in the House, where we’ve accomplished a lot together,” says Lujan.

Lujan, who is from Nambe, has represented northern New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District since 2009.

In 2008, Luján was first elected for New Mexico’s 3r Congressional District. He won re-election to his seat in 2016. Prior to Luján’s election to the U.S. House, he served as deputy state treasurer and as the chairman of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.

In 2011, Luján founded the bipartisan Technology Transfer Caucus. In 2013, he was appointed to the House Democratic Leadership as a Chief Deputy Whip.

The 46-year old is currently the fourth-ranking House Democrat as the Assistant Speaker of the House.

“He’s really taken full advantage of the opportunity he’s had in that position, primarily in the Democratic party and really showing that when he’s given an opportunity, he takes full advantage of it,” says Political Analyst Gabriel Sanchez.

Lujan will likely have some competition.

“The only name that most of us are watching closely is Maggie Toulouse-Oliver,” says Sanchez.

Sanchez says Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse-Oliver’s popularity in Bernalillo County could give her an edge. However, it will be tough to keep up with Lujan’s fundraising.

“For a statewide race, particularly a Senate race, it’s going to be very expensive. I think that’s essentially the battlefield if you will,” says Sanchez.

On the Republican side, so far only Mick Rich has said he’s considering a run.

“The overall state of New Mexico has moved considerably blue and I think most national experts, including myself, see the Senate race as leaning Democratic at this point,” says Sanchez.

Hours after Lujan’s announcement, people started lining up for his job in Congress. Democrat State Representative Joseph Sanchez has declared he will run in the CD3 race. Other Democrats mentioned include PRC Commissioner Valerie Espinoza and political consultant Robert Apodaca.

Former CIA officer, Valerie Plame, says she is considering running for Senate. She moved to Santa Fe after she claimed the Bush Administration deliberately blew her cover because her husband was critical of the war in Iraq.

The Republican Party of New Mexico says several Republicans are considering the Senate and CD3 race, saying they will be competitive races.

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