SANTA FE, N.M. — Republican Congressman Steve Pearce is meeting with community leaders outside his district as he considers whether to run for governor of New Mexico in 2018.

Pearce spokeswoman Keeley Christensen said the congressman was touring counties in northern New Mexico on Tuesday to listen to concerns about the state’s direction.

She says Pearce is aware of his status as a potential candidate for governor next year and “will ultimately make a decision based on how he feels he can best serve New Mexico.”

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s cannot run for a third term in 2018 and no Republican has entered the race.

The Democratic nomination is being sought by businessman Jeff Apodaca and U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Pearce currently is serving his seventh term in New Mexico’s southernmost congressional district.