Image: Martin Chavez
Jake Schoellkopf  /  AP
Martin Chavez, the mayor of Albuquerque, N.M., reportedly plans to announce his candidacy at a news conference Tuesday.
updated 10/8/2007 10:04:17 PM ET 2007-10-09T02:04:17

The mayor of Albuquerque will run for the seat being vacated by retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, The Associated Press has learned.

Martin Chavez, who would be the highest-profile Democrat so far to enter the 2008 race, planned to announce his candidacy at a news conference Tuesday, according to a source close to the campaign who sought anonymity so as not to pre-empt the formal announcement.

The seat was thrown wide open with Domenici’s announcement last week that he would not seek a seventh term because of his health.

The news was a blow to Senate Republicans — of the 34 Senate seats up for election next year, 22 are held by the GOP. Democrats control the 100-member Senate with 49 seats and two independents who usually vote Democratic.

An Albuquerque native in his third term as mayor, Chavez had been eyeing another bid for governor in 2010. He was the Democratic nominee for governor in 1998, losing to Republican incumbent Gary Johnson.

Chavez, 55, also served four years in the state Senate.

Jim Hannan, the finance director of the Santa Fe Community Housing Trust, businessman Don Wiviott and Leland Lehrman, who publishes an alternative newspaper in Santa Fe, had said they would seek the Democratic nomination even before Domenici’s announcement.

On the GOP side, U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson is the best known of those seeking Domenici’s seat. Oil industry executive and investor Spiro G. Vassilopoulos also is running for the Republican nomination.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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