New Mexico commercial contractor Mick Rich is taking a second run for Senate. Rich told NM Political Report early Friday morning that he was running again in 2020.
Rich said he has “learned a lot” since his last attempt to represent New Mexico in Washington D.C. Rich’s Senate campaign in 2018, when he lost to Martin Heinrich, was his first attempt at elected office. “As we approach the 2020 election cycle, we have acted on that learning,” Rich said. “Rather than rush to announce for an open seat, we have recruited a top-notch campaign team and have begun to contact major donors.”
The Senate seat is open because Sen. Tom Udall opted not to run for a third term. Udall’s announcement earlier this year set off speculation on who would run to replace the longtime elected officeholder.
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján continues to lead the money race in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. The six-term congressman has over $1.1 million more money in his campaign account than his primary opponent, while outed CIA spy Valerie Plame narrowly led the fundraising in the latest quarter for the 3rd Congressional District race. At the same time, U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small continued her impressive fundraising and now has over $1 million in her campaign account. Campaign finance reports for the 2nd quarter, which runs from April 1 to June 30, were due for federal candidates on Monday. While elections are not until next year, candidates will use campaign funds to hire staff and buy other campaign necessities.
Even as Donald Trump’s campaign says it may target New Mexico in 2020, his approval in the state remains very low. That’s according to the latest polling from Morning Consult, which releases the presidential approval ratings at the state level each month. This month, Donald Trump’s approval rating stands at just 41 percent, while 56 percent disapprove of his job performance. Trump’s approval rating in New Mexico was 52 percent at the beginning of 2017 and peaked at 59 percent in April of 2017. But his approval rating has been lower than his disapproval rating in every poll since June of 2017.
New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced Wednesday she is running for the U.S. Senate. The Democrat has already won statewide races for Secretary of State twice and if she wins in 2020 would become the first woman to represent New Mexico in the U.S. Senate in the state’s history. In a slickly-produced video, Toulouse Oliver emphasized her personal history, including attending college as a single mother and graduating with “a pile of student debt.” She says that as Secretary of State she “took on the Koch brothers and won,” on campaign finance reform. She also said that she supports Medicare-for-all and supports “a Washington that doesn’t separate families at the border.”
In a separate statement announcing her run, Toulouse Oliver also says she supports the Green New Deal. “We need more women in Washington,” Toulouse Oliver said.
A former Trump administration official announced Tuesday that he is running for the open U.S. Senate seat. Republican Gavin Clarkson announced he will run for the seat to replace U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, the Democrat who said earlier this year that he would not seek a third term in the Senate. He is the first Republican to announce his candidacy. “I’m running to share the stories and aspirations of the ordinary people who make New Mexico extraordinary and who just want to see some sympathy in the Senate, and that will mean being in-state as often as possible, so I’m promising to visit every one of our state’s 33 counties at least once a year,” Clarkson said in a statement. He also mentioned his personal story, saying he lost “almost everything” in the 2008 financial crisis then moved to New Mexico “with one cent in my bank account” and started flipping houses—buying houses, fixing them up and selling them at a higher price.
Just about two weeks ago, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall announced that he would not run for re-election. Nearly as soon as he announced his decision, a chain reaction began. Speculation on who would replace him—and who would run to fill the spots of those eyeing Udall’s seat. Note: This story was sent out Tuesday as part of the NM Political Report Elections Roundup. Sign up for the free email.
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.
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas announced Thursday that he will not run for the U.S. Senate seat in 2020. Balderas made the announcement on a classic rock morning show in Albuquerque. “I’ve decided to pass on that position and pass on running for the U.S. Senate,” Balderas said, while a guitar riff played in the background on the “Erika Viking & The Hoff In The Morning” show. Many political observers thought Balderas would consider running and might be a top tier candidate in the Democratic primary. Speculation intensified earlier this week when a spokesman said he would make an announcement Thursday morning.
Ben Ray Luján wants New Mexicans to know he’s seriously contemplating running to replace Tom Udall in the U.S. Senate. Emphasis on “seriously.”
Luján is in his sixth term in the U.S. House, and he’s watched other New Mexico representatives move on to other positions. Martin Heinrich won election to the U.S. Senate in 2012. Both Steve Pearce and Michelle Lujan Grisham ran for governor in 2018. Now with Tom Udall leaving the Senate in 2020, Luján may vacate the same seat his predecessor left over a decade ago to once again follow his path to the Senate.
After U.S. Sen. Tom Udall announced he was not seeking a third term in office, speculation immediately began over who would run to replace him in 2020. Hours after Udall’s announcement, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball moved the seat from “Safe Democratic” to “Likely Democratic.” That means the political prognosticating outlet believes something out of the ordinary would have to happen for Democrats to lose the seat. While Udall and his colleague in the U.S. Senate, Martin Heinrich, each won their seats in races without an incumbent, it is exceedingly rare for that to happen in New Mexico. So it’s no surprise that the list of Democrats who could run to replace Udall is lengthy, even after Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller took himself out of the running. Some high profile political figures that have either said they are considering a run, or are said to be considering a run are below.