Ben Ray Luján Announces Senate Run
Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, announced Monday that he was launching a campaign to succeed retiring Democratic Senator Tom Udall. "I've been humbled by all of the outreach encouraging me to run and it's been an honor to serve you in the House where we've accomplished a lot together," said Luján. "But to move forward, we've got to fix the Senate, where Mitch McConnell stands in the way of progress." Luján becomes the first Democrat to officially throw his hat into the ring, and there was speculation that others were waiting to see what the Congressman would do before announcing their own potential bids. NM AG Héctor Balderas -- who previously ran for an open Senate seat -- already announced that he would not run. However, Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM) is still among those thinking about pursuing the Democratic nomination. Lujan has represented New Mexico's Third Congressional District since 2008. He was elevated to the role of Assistant Speaker after two terms as DCCC Chair, where he helped to reclaim the majority by flipping 40 seats in the 2018 midterm election. As the highest-ranking Hispanic member in the House, many viewed the 46-year-old as a potential successor to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). But Luján’s senatorial bid now shakes up the future of Democratic House leadership -- many are already speculating that his Senate run clears the path to the speakership for Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who is currently the fifth-ranking Dem. See Luján’s announcement here.