April 1, 2019

Luján: ‘I’m running to be your next United States senator’

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Official photo of U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján is running for Senate.

The six-term congressman from northern New Mexico announced his candidacy for the open U.S. Senate seat in a video from his family farm in Nambé on Monday morning.

“I’m running to be your next United States senator,” Luján said. “I’ve been humbled by all of the outreach telling me to run and it’s been an honor to serve you in the House, where we’ve accomplished a lot together.”

After listing some of his accomplishments, including that he “led the effort to win back the House,” the Democrat turned his attention towards the Senate.

“To move forward, we’ve got to fix the Senate, where Mitch McConnell stands in the way of progress,” he said.

McConnell is the Republican Senate Majority Leader.

The election for the seat will be in 2020.

Luján looks to follow the path set by Udall, who was Luján’s predecessor in the 3rd Congressional District. Udall held the seat for ten years, before leaving in 2008 to run for Senate.

If he won, Luján would be the first Latinx member of the Senate to represent New Mexico since Joseph Montoya, who left office in 1977.

While Attorney General Hector Balderas announced last week he would not seek the position, Luján will likely face some competition in the Democratic primary.

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and former CIA officer Valerie Plame have all expressed interest in running.

On the Republican side, 2018 U.S. Senate candidate Mick Rich said he is considering running. Former U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, former Lt. Gov. John Sanchez and 2018 Secretary of State candidate Gavin Clarkson are also possible Republican candidates.

Correction: This story originally said Luján would be the first Latinx member of the Senate since Joseph Montoya. It should have said the first member of the Senate to represent New Mexico.