Jessica M. Karmasek Apr. 30, 2013, 4:00pm

SANTA FE (Legal Newsline) -- New Mexico's state auditor is joining the race to become the state's next top lawyer.

Hector Balderas, who is serving his second term as state auditor, announced Tuesday that is running for attorney general next year.

"Today, after enthusiastic encouragement from supporters across the state, I formally entered the race to become New Mexico's next attorney general," he wrote on his campaign website, adding that he planned to bring a "watchdog mentality" to the office.

Balderas, who was first elected as state auditor in 2006 at the age of 33, previously worked as a prosecutor and served in the state House of Representatives.

Last year, he also ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate seat left open by retiring Democrat Jeff Bingaman.

In his campaign announcement, Balderas promised to protect consumers, and to improve and promote greater accountability in the nonprofit and corporate sectors.

Also running for the Democratic nomination is former Public Regulation Commissioner Jason Marks.

In February, it was reported that Marks, who just finished up two terms on the state commission, opened an exploratory committee based in Albuquerque.

Both are vying to replace current Attorney General Gary King.

King was first elected as the state's top lawyer in 2006 and is eligible to run for re-election.

Instead, King has said he will seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014.

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