Udall formally announces Senate bid

The Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE — U.S. Rep. Tom Udall formally announced Thursday he will run for the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Pete Domenici.

Udall’s decision to run for the first open Senate seat in New Mexico in 36 years leaves the state with three wide-open congressional races in 2008. The outcome of the Senate race also could be key to control of the Senate.

Udall, who was elected to northern New Mexico’s 3rd District seat in 1998, is a former two-term state attorney general and the son of former Interior Secretary Stewart Udall.

Udall made his formal announcement at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. He also has events scheduled in Los Lunas, Las Cruces, Silver City, Clovis, Las Vegas, Mora, Taos and his hometown of Santa Fe.

Udall will face Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez and Leland Lehrman, who publishes an alternative newspaper in Santa Fe, in the June primary. A fourth Democrat, Jim Hannan, finance director of the Santa Fe Community Housing Trust, dropped out of the race Thursday and endorsed Udall.

On the Republican side, Rep. Heather Wilson, who represents the Albuquerque-area 1st District, will face off with Rep. Steve Pearce of Hobbs, who represents the 2nd District that spans the southern half of the state.

Domenici plans to retire in January 2009 because of an incurable brain disease.