Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, waives to supporters with his wife, Jill Cooper Udall, right, at the Double Tree hotel after being re-elected as one of New Mexico's Senators in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Nov. 4, 2014. Udall said Monday he will not seek re-election in 2020 in a move that opens up a secure Democratic seat to competition. He announced the end of his 20-year political career in Washington in a statement. Credit: Craig Fritz | AP

WASHINGTON — Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico announced Monday that he would not seek re-election to a third term in 2020, saying he wants to find “new ways to serve” New Mexico and the country.

Although he is confident that he could win another term, Udall said in a statement that “the worst thing anyone in public office can do is believe the office belongs to them, rather than to the people they represent.”

Udall, a former congressman and state attorney general, was re-elected to the Senate in 2014 with nearly 56 percent of the vote, and New Mexico had trended more heavily Democratic in recent years. In 2018, Democrats won every statewide office on the ballot.

New Mexico’s three House members, all Democrats — Deb Haaland, Xochitl Torres Small, Ben Ray Lujan — are viewed as potential successors.

Another potential candidate is Hector Balderas, the state’s Democratic attorney general who is considered a rising star.

Udall said in his statement Monday that he is committed to working through the end of his term.

“I see these next two years as an incredible opportunity,” he said. “Without the distraction of another campaign, I can get so much more done to help reverse the damage done to our planet, end the scourge of war, and to stop this president’s assault on our democracy and our communities.”

Washington Post writer David Weigel contributed to this report.