Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, just made his first round of ratings of 2012 (it's almost here!) U.S. Senate races.
Here's what he said.
New Mexico: Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman has become something of an institution in his state since his first election in 1982. He says he is running again, despite earlier retirement rumors, and if that is so, he will be a substantial favorite. However, former Congresswoman Heather Wilson is seriously considering a candidacy to oppose Bingaman. Despite her defeat for the other Senate seat in 2008, she would be an impressive candidate. Naturally, Wilson hopes that Bingaman steps down and she will have an open seat.
Now officially, Bingaman hasn't made his decision to run for re-election yet. That announcement is expected in February or March. But his spokeswoman Jude McCartin pointed out to me a couple of months ago that the senator had recently had a fundraiser in which he brought in about $400,000.