Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) announced Monday he would not seek a third term in the Senate and run for re-election in 2020.
“I’m confident that we could run a strong campaign next year to earn a third term, because of all the work you and I have done together, along with my wife, Jill, and my incredibly dedicated staff,” Udall said in a statement.
“But 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.”
The New Mexico Democrat—who has held his Senate seat since 2009—said that while he is not seeking re-election to the Senate, he said he is “not retiring” from public life and would look to “find new ways to serve New Mexico and our country” upon the completion of his term.
Udall added that his choice not to run for re-election would free him up to pursue other forms of activism.
“Without the distraction of another campaign, I can get so much more done to help reverse the damage done to our planet, end the scourge of war, and to stop this president’s assault on our democracy and our communities,” Udall said.
The 70-year-old senator is the first Democrat U.S. senator to announce his retirement in the upcoming campaign cycle, and the first Democrat to retire since 2016.
Two Republican senators— Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)— already announced they would not run again for Senate in 2020.
It is unclear who would run for Udall’s open Senate seat in 2020, but the Cook Political Report labeled the 2020 U.S. Senate race in New Mexico as “solid” Democrat.