NM-Sen, NM-01: Martin Heinrich Will Run for Senate

That’s the story according to a couple of dudes that the Associated Press spoke to, at least:

U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich plans to run for the Senate seat being vacated by longtime Sen. Jeff Bingaman, two New Mexico Democrats close to the congressman and familiar with his political plans said Friday.

The two state Democrats, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid upstaging Heinrich’s formal announcement, told The Associated Press that Heinrich will announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate on Saturday. Heinrich, 39, is the first prominent Democrat to jump into the race as his party seeks to hold onto the seat that has been held by Bingaman since 1982.

Heinrich spokeswoman Whitney Potter declined to comment Friday on the congressman’s political plans.

When he announces, Heinrich will be the first New Mexico Democrat of any stature to formally launch a campaign for retiring Dem Sen. Jeff Bingaman’s seat. (State Auditor Hector Balderas is expected to run, but he hasn’t yet made his plans public.) It would appear that Heinrich, in his second term in the House after a stint serving as an Albuquerque city councilman, would have the jump on his would-be Democratic primary opponents — at least according to a recent but meagrely-sampled poll by Tulchin Research for the Defenders of Wildlife. Heinrich led the field with 32%, followed by ex-Lt. Gov. Diane Denish at 25%, 3rd CD Rep. Ben Ray Luj├ín at 15%, Balderas at 5% and 24% undecided.

Heinrich will leave behind an extremely swingy open seat in the House, but if a solid replacement candidate can be found, the Obama turnout machine should be a formidable advantage for Team Blue here.

(Hat-tip: MinnesotaMike)

UPDATE: Here’s one potential replacement for Heinrich in the House — state Sen. Eric Griego, who wasted no time in setting up an exploratory committee:

“I am seriously considering entering the Congressional race, but need to discuss my final decision with my family, my employer, and of course my supporters,” Griego said in a statement sent to the media. “This is an important decision not just for me and my family, but for our whole community and it warrants serious soul searching and a sober review of what kind of Democrat we want fighting for us in Washington.”

In addition to his position in the Senate, Griego currently is the Executive Director of the non-profit New Mexico Voices for Children.

“It is a very critical time for our state and our country,” Senator Griego said. “We need a Democratic Congressional candidate who will unapologetically stand up for working families and take on those who would put large corporate interests ahead of our children, our environment and our local businesses.”

UPDATE 2 (David): Heinrich makes it official, with a video (and transcript) on his website:

73 thoughts on “NM-Sen, NM-01: Martin Heinrich Will Run for Senate”

  1. of the vote there in 2008. It’s not that exceptionally swingish. And Heinrich has a huge lead in the primary, especially since Denish and Lujan are very unlikely to run. If elected Heinrich would probably be the youngest member of the Senate. I’m really glad. He probably gives Democrats their best candidate and leaves holding this seat a pretty sure probability, particularly if there’s a big expensive, nasty primary on the Republican side, as it is shaping up to be.

    1. Basic, politely understated in a good way, and a nice use of food and the idea of “going to the grocery store is the best way to understand what people are going through right now.” Plus it shows off his nice family and their not-grandiose abode.

      In a sense, Heinrich did something similar to Christopher Murphy by using a personal, in-the-home feel to his announcement video, though Murphy’s was based on him knocking on your door.

  2. but given New Mexico’s democratic lean, Heather Wilson will really have to campaign well and perhaps get a decent environment for Republicans in order to win.  Heinrich is a strong candidate for our side, and I don’t expect him to make gaffes during the campaign.  

    There’s at least 4 or 5 seats I worry about more than New Mexico, most notably North Dakota, Nebraska, and Montana.

  3. Balderas seems great, but he’s young and I’d hope he passes on facing off in a potentially contentious primary with Heinrich, which Heinrich would probably end up winning anyway. He has lots of opportunity ahead of him.  

  4. So I’ll stick to NM-01, having Griego run for Heinrich’s seat makes me extremely happy, he’s a strong progressive (many here might remember that he ran for mayor in 2005 against Marty Chavez and Republican city councilor (and, sadly enough, my high school vice principal, Brad Winter). I voted for Griego that year and I really want his voice in congress.

  5. is surely Democratic-leaning (especially in Presidential year), but not very Democratic, and generally swingy (it continued to reelect Wilson even while voting for Kerry). Griego is a good candidate, but may be somewhat liberal for it. I doubt he could win it in 2010 environment, but 2012 may be another matter…

  6. for what its worth.  

    I think Heinrich could clear the field on the D side.  Hispanics have a  history of losing  D primaries statewide in NM.  There are a few number of “pinto” democrats and geographically and politically Heinrich does suck air out on the D side.  

    My sense is that Wilson would have a hard time beating Heinrich.  They are from the same geographic area and Wilson would not be able make enough inroads in the hispanic vote to win.  Just my two cents circa April 2011.

    I think Sanchez, however, represents the best GOP chance.  I would not surprised if she diverted to NM1.

    A bit of advice for hispanics in NM1. Heinrich won the primary for this seat strictly due to a split in the hispanic community.  If they want to have an hispanic in this seat they need to unite behind someone.  

  7. this is certainly the year to run, both for heinrich and whomever runs for his seat.  

  8. would be the tougher candidate to beat? I suppose conventional wisdom says Wilson, because she was something of a moderate track record, but Sanchez may be able to erode some of the Dems support from Hispanics, especially if our nominee is Heinrich. Any thoughts?

  9. If you’re a Democrat with any Senate ambitions, this is really the time to get in, because Udall’s probably going to be around for a while.

  10. I think Heinrich is a great recruit for the Dems but does anyone else think the chickens in the announcement video were a little odd? Not to be overly critical they just seemed out of place with the speech Heinrich was giving.  

  11. I glad. A recent poll put him leading a group of prominent republicans that only include not J Bingaman (obviously), W Richardson and T Anaya. That convince me.

    New Mexico is the right place for send a hispanic Democrat to the Senate, but M Heinrich is also a good candidate.

    If I’m not wrong D Denish and H Balderas can run for NM-01. I hope see some of them running for the US House seat.

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