In it, but not of it. TPM DC

New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall Won't Run For Reelection

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“The worst thing anyone in public office can do is believe the office belongs to them, rather than to the people they represent. That’s why I’m announcing today that I won’t be seeking re-election next year,” Udall said in a statement announcing his decision.

Udall served in the Senate for two terms, and before that was a House member going back to 1998. He spent his career focused on energy and conservation topics, critical issues for his home state, and was a leading voice pushing for renewable energy.

Udall’s seat will likely stay in Democratic hands, barring catastrophe. New Mexico has gone from being a swing state to safely Democratic in the last two decades. Potential Democratic candidates include Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), though he may stick around the House since he’s in leadership, as well as freshman Reps. Xochitl Torres-Small (D-NM) and Debra Haaland (D-NM).

Udall’s retirement will also open up a spot on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

Udall is part of a sprawling Mormon family dynasty occasionally called “The Kennedys of the West.” His cousin Mark Udall served one term in the Senate before losing to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) in 2014. Their other cousin, Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR), was a senator from 1997 through 2008.

Udall’s father Stewart was a congressman and U.S. Interior Secretary during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, while his uncle Mo was a congressman and top presidential candidate in 1976. Udalls have held elected office every generation since Udall’s great-grandfather was elected to the New Mexico state legislature in 1898.

Congress won’t be left without Udall blood after 2020, however: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) is a second cousin of Tom’s.

This story was updated at 12:15 p.m.

About The Author

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Cameron Joseph is Talking Points Memo's senior political correspondent based in Washington, D.C. He covers Capitol Hill, the White House and the permanent campaign. Previous publications include the New York Daily News, Mashable, The Hill and National Journal. He grew up near Chicago and is an irrationally passionate Cubs fan.