March 28, 2019

Balderas: ‘I’ve decided to pass’ on U.S. Senate run

Courtesy photo

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas.

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.

But Balderas said he plans to  to continue his work in the Attorney General’s office. He also said  he recently became the adult guardian to his daughter, Arianna, and the family wouldn’t be able to handle the travel.

Balderas looked on the bright side, saying, “I get to stay here in New Mexico.”

Balderas ran for U.S. Senate once before, losing handily to Martin Heinrich in the 2012 Democratic primary. Heinrich went on to win the general election and won a second term last year.

Udall announced Monday in a YouTube video and post on Medium that he would not seek a third term, leaving an open seat. The announcement set off a scramble among politicians throughout the state to decide whether or not to run for a rare open Senate seat, especially Democrats. It’s unlikely any Democrat would have challenged the popular two-term Senator in a primary if he had sought a third term.

Speculation now focuses on U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan. Roll Call, a Washington D.C.-based political news outlet, says Luján will announce his candidacy Monday. Luján told NM Political Report earlier this week he was “seriously” considering a run for Senate and the Latino Victory Fund launched a website to encourage him to run.

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland and Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver each also indicated they were considering running for the seat.

Republicans including 2018 Republican Senate nominee Mick Rich, former U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce and former Lt. Gov. John Sanchez could also decide to run for the seat. Only Rich has said that he is considering the race so far.

After Balderas’ announcement, the live version of Tesla’s cover of “Signs” played.

Update: Added a video released by Balderas.