Tom Udall

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Tom Udall
Tom Udall official photo.jpg
Official portrait, 2017
United States Senator
from New Mexico
Assumed office
January 3, 2009
Serving with Martin Heinrich
Preceded byPete Domenici
Vice Chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded byJon Tester
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2009
Preceded byBill Redmond
Succeeded byBen Ray Luján
28th Attorney General of New Mexico
In office
January 1, 1991 – January 1, 1999
GovernorBruce King
Gary Johnson
Preceded byHal Stratton
Succeeded byPatricia Madrid
Personal details
Thomas Stewart Udall

(1948-05-18) May 18, 1948 (age 72)
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Jill Cooper
Children1 daughter
EducationPrescott College (BA)
Downing College, Cambridge (LLB)
University of New Mexico (JD)
WebsiteSenate website

Thomas Stewart Udall (/ˈjudɔːl/; born May 18, 1948) is an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from New Mexico, a seat he was first elected to in 2008. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as the U.S. Representative for New Mexico's 3rd congressional district from 1999 to 2009 and was the Attorney General of New Mexico from 1991 to 1999. A member of the Udall family, he is the son of Stewart Udall, the nephew of Mo Udall, and the cousin of Mark Udall. He is the dean of New Mexico's congressional delegation. On March 25, 2019, Udall announced that he would not seek a third term in the 2020 election, making him the only Democratic senator to announce his retirement in that election cycle.

Early life, education, and law career[edit]

Udall was born in Tucson, Arizona, to Ermalee Lenora (née Webb) and Stewart Udall, the Secretary of the Interior from 1961 to 1969.[1] Two of his maternal great-grandparents were Swiss.[2][importance?]

Early political career[edit]

In 1982, Udall ran for Congress in the newly created 3rd district, based in the state capital, Santa Fe, and including most of the north of the state. He lost the Democratic primary to Bill Richardson. In 1988, he ran for Congress again, this time in an election for the Albuquerque-based 1st district seat left open by retiring twenty-year incumbent Manuel Lujan, Jr., but narrowly lost to Bernalillo County District Attorney Steven Schiff. From 1990 to 1999 he served as Attorney General of New Mexico.[3]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]


Udall ran for Congress again in 1998 in the 3rd district against incumbent Bill Redmond, who had been elected in a 1997 special election to replace Richardson. Redmond was a conservative Republican representing a heavily Democratic district, and Udall defeated Redmond with 53 percent of the vote.[4] He was reelected four more times with no substantive opposition, including an unopposed run in 2002.[citation needed]


As a U.S. Representative, Tom Udall was a member of both the centrist New Democrat Coalition and the more liberal Congressional Progressive Caucus. He was a member of the United States House Peak oil Caucus, which he co-founded with Representative Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland.[5][6]

Committee assignments[edit]

Udall sat on the United States House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations in the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies and the Subcommittee on Legislative Branch.[citation needed]


He was the Co-Vice Chair of the House Native American Caucus and Co-Chair of the International Conservation Caucus.[citation needed]

U.S. Senate[edit]


In November 2007, Udall announced his run for the Senate seat held by retiring six-term incumbent Republican Pete Domenici.[7] Potential Democratic rival Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez dropped out, handing Udall the nomination. New Mexico's other two members of the House, 1st and 2nd district's Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce, ran in the Republican primary. Pearce won the Republican nomination, and lost to Udall, who won 61 percent of the vote.

While Udall ran for Senate in New Mexico, his younger first cousin, Congressman Mark Udall, ran for the Senate in Colorado. Their double second cousin, incumbent Gordon Smith of Oregon, also ran for reelection. Both Udalls won but Smith lost.


He voted in favor of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, DREAM Act,[8] American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.[9]

Udall was one of the first members of Congress to publicly express concern about the possibility of NSA overreach, a year before Edward Snowden's 2013 disclosure of the PRISM program.[10]

On March 25, 2019, Udall announced that he would not run for reelection in 2020.[11]


Tom Udall during his visit to the Navajo Nation Council Chamber in Window Rock, Arizona

On March 19, 2013, Udall introduced into the Senate the Sandia Pueblo Settlement Technical Amendment Act (S. 611; 113th Congress), a bill that would transfer some land to the Sandia Pueblo tribe.[12][13]

Also during the 113th Congress, Udall introduced a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would reverse Citizens United and allow limits on outside spending in support of political candidates.[14][15] The Amendment won the approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 10-8 vote in July 2014.[15]

In March 2015 Udall sponsored Senate bill 697, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, a bill to amend and reauthorize the Toxic Substances Control Act.[16] The legislation, as amended, was signed into law by President Barack Obama on June 22, 2016.[17] It updated the nation's safety system for thousands of chemicals in products like cleaners, paints, carpets and furniture.[18][19] The bill initially faced criticism over the balance between federal and state authority to regulate chemicals, but after changes to the legislation, it earned broader support, including from liberal members of the Senate and the President.[20][21] It passed by a vote of 403-12 in the House and voice vote in the Senate.[22]

In March 2019, he and Rand Paul co-sponsored the bipartisan AFGHAN Service Act to compensate members of the armed forces and repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists at the end of the Afghanistan withdrawal.[23][24]

Committee assignments[edit]

Udall's committee assignments included:[25]


Political positions[edit]

Gun law[edit]

In 2013, Udall voted for state-by-state reciprocity of concealed carry and for the names of gun owners to be protected and released only in select situations.[27] In 2016, within weeks of the Orlando nightclub shooting, he participated in a sit-in at the House to demand votes on gun control legislation, saying, "We owe it to the LGBT community & all families harmed by gun violence to keep terror suspects fr[om] obtaining guns."[28] In 2017, Udall had a "C-" rating from the National Rifle Association and a "F" rating from the Gun Owners of America for his support of gun control.[29]

Environmental issues[edit]

Udall has a lifetime score of 96% from the League of Conservation Voters.[30] In 2018 he received the Sierra Club's top award for public officials, the Edgar Wayburn Award.[31]

In September 2019 Udall was one of eight senators to sign a bipartisan letter to congressional leadership requesting full and lasting funding of the Land and Water Conservation Act to aid national parks and public lands, benefit the $887 billion American outdoor recreation economy, and "ensure much-needed investment in our public lands and continuity for the state, tribal, and non-federal partners who depend on them."[32]

In late 2019, Udall co-sponsored the Green New Deal, a policy introduced in the U.S. Senate that would establish net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.[33]

Electoral history[edit]


New Mexico Attorney General Democratic primary election, 1990
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Tom Udall 59,676 35.95
Democratic Patricia Madrid 50,875 30.65
Democratic Dick Minzner 28,860 17.39
Democratic Patrick Apodoco 26,576 16.01
Total votes 165,987 100.00
New Mexico Attorney General election, 1990
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Democratic Tom Udall 265,582 67.59
Republican William Davis 127,364 32.41
Majority 138,218 35.18
Turnout 392,946
Democratic gain from Republican
New Mexico Attorney General election, 1994
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Democratic Tom Udall (Incumbent) 277,225 60.92 -6.67
Republican Donald Bruckner, Jr. 177,822 39.08 +6.67
Majority 99,403 21.84
Turnout 455,047
Democratic hold
New Mexico's 3rd congressional district Democratic primary election, 1998
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Tom Udall 32,533 44.03
Democratic Eric Serna 26,340 35.64
Democratic Roman Maes, III 4,382 5.93
Democratic Tony Scarborough 3,681 4.98
Democratic Carol Cloer 2,631 3.56
Democratic Patricia Lundstrom 2,580 3.49
Democratic Francesca Lobato 1,251 1.69
Democratic Eric Treisman 498 0.67
Total votes 73,896 100.00
New Mexico's 3rd congressional district election, 1998
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Democratic Tom Udall 91,248 53.16
Republican Bill Redmond (Incumbent) 74,266 43.27
Green Carol Miller 6,103 3.56
Write-in 32 0.01
Majority 16,982 9.89
Turnout 171,649 100.00
Democratic gain from Republican
New Mexico's 3rd congressional district election, 2000
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Democratic Tom Udall (Incumbent) 135,040 67.18 +14.02
Republican Lisa Lutz 65,979 32.82 -10.45
Majority 69,061 34.36 +24.47
Turnout 201,019
Democratic hold
New Mexico's 3rd congressional district election, 2002
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Democratic Tom Udall (Incumbent) 122,921 100.00 +32.82
Majority 122,921 100.00 +65.64
Turnout 122,921
Democratic hold
New Mexico's 3rd congressional district election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Democratic Tom Udall (Incumbent) 175,269 68.68 -31.32
Republican Gregory Tucker 79,935 31.32 +31.32
Majority 95,334 37.36 -62.64
Turnout 255,204
Democratic hold
New Mexico's 3rd congressional district election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Democratic Tom Udall (incumbent) 144,880 74.64 +5.96
Republican Ronald Dolin 49,219 25.36 -5.96
Majority 95,661 49.28 11.92
Turnout 194,099
Democratic hold


Democratic Party primary results[34]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Tom Udall 141,629 100.00
Total votes 141,629 100.00
General election results[35]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Tom Udall 505,128 61.33% +26.37%
Republican Steve Pearce 318,522 38.67% -26.37%
Majority 186,606 22.66% -7.43%
Turnout 823,650
Democratic gain from Republican Swing


Democratic primary results[36]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Tom Udall (Incumbent) 113,502 100
Total votes 113,502 100
New Mexico's US Senate Election, 2014[37]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Tom Udall (Incumbent) 286,409 55.56
Republican Allen Weh 229,097 44.44
Total votes 515,506 100
Democratic hold

Personal life[edit]

Udall is married to Jill Cooper Udall. They live in Santa Fe with their daughter, Amanda Cooper. Tom Udall is the son of former Arizona Congressman and Interior Secretary Stewart Lee Udall, nephew of Arizona Congressman Morris Udall, and first cousin of former Colorado U.S. Senator Mark Udall, double second cousin of former Oregon U.S. Senator Gordon Smith,[38] and second cousin of Utah U.S. Senator Mike Lee.[39]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Obituary Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2010; page A39.
  2. ^ "Thomas Stewart Udall". Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  3. ^ "Ten things to know about Senate hopeful Rep. Tom Udall". Albuquerque Tribune. November 29, 2007. Archived from the original on December 24, 2007. Retrieved November 11, 2007.
  4. ^ "Udall wins Redmond's New Mexico House seat". Associated Press. November 4, 1998. Retrieved November 11, 2007.
  5. ^ Rep. Tom Udall on resource depletion and climate change (transcript) Global Public Media, December 9, 2005, Post Carbon Institute
  6. ^ "Roscoe G. Bartlett". Archived from the original on September 25, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  7. ^ Baker, Deborah (November 10, 2007). "New Mexico Rep. Tom Udall to seek Democratic nomination for Senate". Associated Press ( Retrieved November 11, 2007.
  8. ^ "Key Votes by Tom Udall – page 2". The Washington Post.
  9. ^ "Key Votes by Tom Udall – page 3". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ Sargent, Greg (June 6, 2013). "We need more transparency and debate around NSA phone records program". Washington Post. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  11. ^ Lesniewski, Niels (March 25, 2019). "Sen. Tom Udall won't seek a third term in 2020". Roll Call. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  12. ^ "S. 611 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  13. ^ "Chairwoman Cantwell Holds Hearing on Tribal Resources Legislation". Tulalip News. May 10, 2013. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  14. ^ "Senate Democrats Begin Efforts to Amend Constitution". Roll Call. June 6, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  15. ^ a b Prokop, Andrew (July 10, 2014). "A Senate committee just approved a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United". Vox. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  16. ^ "All Bill Information (Except Text) for S.697 – Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act". March 10, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  17. ^ "President Obama signs the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act". The White House. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  18. ^ "Congress Passes Largest Chemical Safety Legislation In 40 Years". Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  19. ^ Korte, Gregory. "Obama signs bipartisan chemical safety bill". USA Today. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  20. ^ "White House Statement of Administration Policy" (PDF). May 23, 2016. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  21. ^ Eilperin, Juliet; Fears, Darryl (May 19, 2016). "Congress is overhauling an outdated law that affects nearly every product you own". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  22. ^ "". U.S. Congress. June 22, 2016. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  23. ^ "Sens. Paul and Udall Introduce Legislation to End War in Afghanistan". March 5, 2019. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  24. ^ Britschgi, Christian (March 5, 2019). "Sens. Rand Paul, Tom Udall Introduce Bill to End the War in Afghanistan". Reason. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  25. ^ "About Tom". Retrieved April 2, 2016.
  26. ^ "Members". Afterschool Alliance. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  27. ^ Weiner, Rachel (April 17, 2013). "How almost all the gun amendments failed". Washington Post. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  28. ^ Melton, Tara (June 23, 2016). "New Mexico senators speak out about gun reform". Alamogordo Daily News. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  29. ^ Blake, Aaron (December 17, 2012). "Where the Senate stands on guns — in one chart". Washington Post. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  30. ^ "Senator Tom Udall". League of Conservation Voters. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  31. ^ "Sierra Club Announces 2018 Award Winners". October 1, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  32. ^ "Tester, Daines push for full funding of conservation fund". Havre Daily News. September 19, 2019.
  33. ^ "S.Res.59". U.S. Senate. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  34. ^ "Canvass of Returns of Primary Election Held on June 3, 2008 - State of New Mexico" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 14, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  35. ^ "2008 Election Statistics". Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  36. ^ "New Mexico - Election Night Results - June 3rd, 2014". June 3, 2014. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  37. ^ "Official Results General Election - November 4, 2014". New Mexico Secretary of State. November 4, 2014. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  38. ^ Udall family of Arizona at the Political Graveyard, Lawrence Kestenbaum, 2013
  39. ^ Lee Davidson (October 24, 2010). "Senate race: Mike Lee ready to ride Senate roller coaster". The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on September 15, 2013.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Hal Stratton
Attorney General of New Mexico
Succeeded by
Patricia Madrid
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bill Redmond
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Ben Luján
Party political offices
Preceded by
Gloria Tristani
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from New Mexico
(Class 2)

2008, 2014
Succeeded by
Ben Luján
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Pete Domenici
United States Senator (Class 2) from New Mexico
Served alongside: Jeff Bingaman, Martin Heinrich
Preceded by
Jon Tester
Ranking Member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Roger Wicker
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Jeanne Shaheen