NM Rep. Tom Udall to Run for Senate

The Associated Press
Saturday, November 10, 2007; 5:44 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. -- Democratic Rep. Tom Udall who will run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Pete Domenici, an aide to the congressman said Saturday.

"He's definitely running," Tom Nagle, Udall's chief of staff, told The Associated Press.

Udall will formally announce his decision in New Mexico during Congress's Thanksgiving recess, Nagle said.

Udall's decision to run means all three of New Mexico's current members of congress are running for Domenici's seat. Rep. Heather Wilson and Rep. Steve Pearce have said they would vie to be the Republican Party candidate for Senate.

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

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.

In the Democratic Party's June primary election, Udall faces Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez; Jim Hannan, finance director of the Santa Fe Community Housing Trust; and Leland Lehrman, who edits an alternative newspaper in Santa Fe.

Udall had said he planned to stay in the House, where he is a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee. But he reconsidered after a "groundswell" of encouragement from New Mexicans, Nagle said.

"He thinks it's too important not to run for the Senate," Nagle said. "A lot of the good things we've been able to do (in the House) don't go anywhere in the Senate."

Udall has about $800,000 in a congressional campaign fund that he can use for the Senate race, Nagle said.

Udall's cousin, Democratic Rep. Mark Udall, is running for Senate in Colorado.

© 2007 The Associated Press