U.S. Sen Tom Udall will not run for governor in 2018, and cited the election of President Donald Trump as one reason why.
Udall said he will remain in the U.S. Senate, despite speculation earlier this year that he would throw his hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination. His current Senate term ends in 2020.
Udall said in a statement Wednesday that he was “very grateful” from the support of those who “personally urged” him to run for governor in 2018.
“While I firmly believe that I have the backing and the experience to properly address all these issues, I have determined, after consulting with my family, colleagues and constituents, that New Mexico will be better served by my remaining in the United States Senate,” Udall said.
In his statement, Udall outlined the problems he sees in the state, including falling “behind in education and jobs” and failing “to take full advantage of our abundant natural resources and our potential for developing a renewable energy industry.”
Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, is in her second term and cannot run for a third consecutive term in 2018. This will likely mean a wide-open field in both the Democratic and Republican primaries.
Udall says he believes with his seniority in the U.S. Senate and his appointments to the Appropriations Committee, Indian Affairs Committee, Commerce Committee and Foreign Relations Committee, remaining in his current position would instead be most beneficial to New Mexico.
If Udall had run for governor, and won, he would be able to appoint his own successor upon taking office in 2019.
Two names that have frequently come up as names for Democratic gubernatorial candidates are U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Attorney General Hector Balderas.
Lujan Grisham said a decision on whether or not to run would need to take place before the end of the year.
On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. John Sanchez, U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce and Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry are all frequently mentioned as potential candidates.
“This is not the time to weaken our position in Washington,” Udall said. “President-elect Trump has proposed policies with respect to health care, constitutional rights, immigration, privatizing public lands, and foreign policy that could be devastating to the citizens of New Mexico.”