Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) said Sunday he plans to "actively consider" running for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D).
"I have not yet made a decision, but together with my wife Julie, I plan to actively consider running," said Heinrich in a Sunday afternoon statement. "Jeff Bingaman and I share a passionate concern for this great state and its people, and my decision will be based on whether I believe I can best serve New Mexico in the House or in the Senate."
Bingaman's announcement Friday that he will not run for re-election in 2012 put a seat that would have been a relatively safe Democratic hold in play for both parties. But Democrats have a fairly deep bench in the state, and Heinrich would be top recruit for Democrats.
Other Democratic names being mentioned include Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, former lieutenant governor Diane Denish and state Auditor Hector Balderas, who has reportedly taken initial steps to build a campaign team.
On the Republican side, former Rep. Heather Wilson (R) remains a possibility, and was considering a bid even before Bingaman announced he would not run again in 2012. Rep. Steve Pearce (R), who was the Republican nominee against then-Rep. Tom Udall (D) in the 2008 Senate race (after defeating Wilson in the primary), will also be looking at a bid. Wilson appeals more to moderates, whereas Pearce's strength is among conservatives.
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