New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver on Tuesday announced that she is dropping out of the race for a U.S. Senate seat and endorsed her previous competitor, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján.
Luján and Toulouse Oliver had been vying for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that will become vacant with the retirement of Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.
In a statement released by her campaign, Toulouse Oliver suggested that her reasons for ending her campaign deal with the fact that she is no longer the only candidate calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, or the only candidate calling to support Medicare for All or reject corporate PAC money.
“Over the course of this campaign, that has changed,” Toulouse Oliver said in a statement. “We have elevated the issues of health care as a human right, of holding the president accountable, and of keeping big money out of politics.
“I know that New Mexico will be in good hands if Ben Ray Luján is our next U.S. Senator. We need Ben Ray in the Senate to stand up for New Mexico and to move our progressive vision forward,” she continued.
The night before announcing that her campaign would end, her campaign sent fundraising emails to supporters asking for money after not meeting “the 24-hour fundraising goal” her campaign had set of adding 300 new donors.
In the funding pitch, her campaign said that “it takes a lot of monetary support to run a campaign … and since Maggie’s a D.C. outsider who sets the tone for this race’s progressive values, we’re not getting a lot of support there, either.”
On Tuesday, she said she will continue her work as New Mexico’s secretary of state, adding that it will be critical going into the 2020 presidential election at a time when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “and the Senate Republicans refuse to take up election security or campaign finance reform legislation.”
Toulouse Oliver raised $428,606.19 in the third quarter of fundraising, according to a federal campaign finance disclosure report. Her campaign had spent most of that — or $343,854.98. She reported $85,376 left in her campaign war chest.
Luján, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the U.S. House below only House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, raised more than $2.5 million. He has spent more than $1.4 million and reported more than $1.6 million cash on hand in his latest Federal Election Commission report.
Luján praised Toulouse Oliver as “a friend” who “stood up for our values,” including a single-payer Medicaid system and addressing climate change.
“Her voice made our democratic process stronger, and I’m honored to have her support for my U.S. Senate campaign,” he continued. “Over the next year, I will continue to travel our state and earn the support of fellow New Mexicans to serve as our next U.S. Senator. I will bring our New Mexico values and principles to the Senate floor.”