Nearly 30 years have passed since the now-70-year-old was first voted in as New Mexico’s attorney general. He went on to win a seat in New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District in 1998, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014 and is currently the most senior member of the state’s Congressional delegation.
Udall’s announcement last week he will leave the Senate in 2020 at the end of his current term puts a period on government service for the “Kennedys of the West” – Udall is the son of an Interior secretary, nephew of a congressman and cousin of a senator. Within hours of his announcement there was a flurry of speculation about who might make a run at his seat.
What’s for sure is the New Mexico delegation – whose next most senior member is 47-year-old Sen. Martin Heinrich – will sorely miss Udall’s institutional knowledge, measured responses and upstanding reputation. (And also his powerful perch on the Senate Appropriations Committee.)