Congress

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver preparing run for Senate

Would face Luján in primary for seat being vacated by Udall retirement

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver is considering a run to become the state's first female Senator. (photo courtesy of Maggie Toulouse Oliver for Secretary of State)

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver is “gearing up” for a run for the state's open Senate seat, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

She plans to make an announcement this month, said Heather Brewer, Toulouse Oliver's campaign manager for her 2018 campaign for secretary of state.   

Toulouse Oliver is among the last in a pool of Democrats considering the Senate race after Assistant House Speaker Ben Ray Luján kicked off his campaign in March, clearing much of the field. 

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Sen. Tom Udall announced last month he will retire rather than seek a third six-year term next year. 

Freshman Rep. Deb Haaland was the latest potential candidate to take herself out of contention, saying on Twitter Wednesday she wanted to focus on helping the Democrats hold the House in 2020. 

If elected, Toulouse Oliver would be the state's first female senator. EMILY's List, a political action committee that works to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, endorsed her in 2018, when she won with 58 percent of the vote.  

Since then, Toulouse Oliver has attracted national attention for her work on election security, according to the Sante Fe New Mexican

Brewer said Toulouse Oliver has reached out to EMILY's List, along with her previous supporters and political leaders in the state. 

EMILY's list spokeswoman Maeve Coyle confirmed that Toulouse Oliver had contacted the organization. 

Luján, the scion of a state political dynasty who has rapidly risen in the Democratic ranks, is expected to be a formidable candidate. A former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Commtitee, he has the support of Latino groups, including the Latino Victory Fund.

Latino Victory Fund is a political action committee that works to recruit Hispanic candidates across the country. With 49 percent, New Mexico has the has the highest percentage of Hispanic residents among the 50 states.

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Valerie Plame, a former CIA agent whose identity was leaked by the Bush administration, told Roll Call in March she was also considering the race. Plame, a Democrat, is also reportedly interested in running for Luján's 3rd District House seat, which is expected to draw a crowded field

Republicans eyeing the Senate race include former Rep. Steve Pearce, who has run for the Senate twice before and lost a bid for governor in 2018. 

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