New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas announced Tuesday that he will not run for governor next year, ending months of speculation.
Balderas, a Democrat, made the announcement in a statement to media where he highlighted work he has done in his first term as attorney general.
“It has been an honor to serve New Mexico and I plan on running for re-election next year in order to continue to fight for our state,” he said.
In addition to mentioning prosecuting “more than 100 cases of internet crimes against children and human trafficking” and recovering more than $6 million in Medicaid fraud cases in 2016, Balderas noted his more recent efforts against the Trump administration.
“Since the November election, my office has a new responsibility—to stand up for New Mexico against President Trump,” Balderas said. “Already the Attorney General’s office has taken on President Trump’s administration twice, and we will continue to hold the administration accountable whenever necessary in order to protect the rights of all people who reside in our great state.”
Previously, Balderas served two terms as state auditor and was a member of the state House of Representatives. Balderas unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator in 2012 but lost in the primary to Martin Heinrich. Heinrich went on to win the seat in the general election that fall.
The race for the governor’s mansion won’t have an incumbent because Susana Martinez is term-limited and cannot run for a third consecutive term.
So far, three Democrats have said they are running for governor. Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham was the first to announce, followed by former Univision executive and son of former Gov. Jerry Apodaca Jeff Apodaca and political newcomer and Ph.D. Peter DeBenedittis.
No Republican has officially announced they are running for governor, but Congressman Steve Pearce has traveled outside of his district through northern New Mexico and said he is weighing a run. Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry also has been named a possible Republican candidate for governor.