Deb Haaland to pass on New Mexico Senate race

Rep. Haaland: 'I have decided to continue serving the people of New Mexico’s First Congressional district'

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Rep. Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, D-New Mexico. (Photo via Facebook)

Deb Haaland is passing on a Senate run.

She told supporters Wednesday via Twitter: Since Sen. Tom Udall’s “announcement that he would not run for re-election, I have been overwhelmed by the daily encouragement of family, friends, supporters, and New Mexicans across the state to run for the open seat.”

But she said “after much thought and conversation, I have decided to continue serving the people of New Mexico’s First Congressional district, fighting for a Green New Deal, protecting our public lands, pushing for Medicare for All, and reforming housing for our military personnel.”

An open Senate seat is a rare opportunity. A Native woman has never been elected to the Senate. 

(READ MORE: Deb Haaland's first hundred days in Congress )

And Haaland has already shown extraordinary leadership in the House and is well-regarded by the majority Democrats. By seeking re-election instead of a Senate race, Haaland could be setting out on the path toward House leadership.

Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, and Rep. Sharice Davids, Ho Chunk, are the first Native women elected to the Congress.

New Mexico politicians were quick weigh-in on the announcement. Martin Chavez, a three-term mayor of Albuquerque, wrote, “You've already done a great job for New Mexico and I'm glad that you won't let up!” And former Lt. Gov. Diane Denish tweeted: “I will be with you all the way when you run for re-election! Proud to call you my Congresswoman.”

There is also an open Senate race in Kansas because of the retirement of Sen. Pat Roberts. 

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Mark Trahant is editor of Indian Country Today. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Follow him on Twitter - @TrahantReports

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I think she is a very smart woman. We need to move to more matrilineal leaders... Hope she'll be around for a long time!