The move is not a total surprise, given the time Bingaman has spent in Washington, and his age. The interesting part comes now as the guessing begins about who will run to replace him...Diane Denish? Steve Pearce? Marty Chavez? Patsy Madrid? Heather Wilson? (See this on Wilson.) The list goes on . . .
Update, 11:16 am
State Auditor Hector Balderas was the first to come with a reaction to Bingaman's decision, making me wonder if he wants the spot.
Balderas called Bingaman a "national leader on energy policy, an advocate for our national labs, a responsible steward of our public lands to a champion for those without access to health care."
Here's part of the lengthy statement Balderas sent out:
"One of his greatest unspoken legacies will be that he has served as role model to young elected officials like myself on how to comport oneself in public life—focus on making people’s lives better and do so with humility. I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Bingaman the next two years in improving the quality of life for all New Mexicans."
I have confirmed with Bingaman's office that he won't seek re-election. I will update from his Albuquerque press conference this afternoon.