U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D) will not reapply for the “best job” he’s ever had, being governor of Virginia, he said in a taped message Tuesday.
“I loved being governor, but I have different job now, and it’s here in the United States Senate,” Warner said.
Rumors have swirled in recent months that Warner would seek another four-year term as the commonwealth’s chief executive. Virginia law forbids governors from serving two consecutive terms.
Warner said Democrats, Republicans and Independents have approached him in the past year, requesting he run again. He’s given it “serious, heartfelt consideration,” he said, but he wants to continue his work in Washington, D.C., which at times has been “frustrating.”
With the senator’s announcement, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, a Northern Virginia businessman and political adviser, remains the only Democratic candidate to officially declare. McAuliffe, who lost his party’s gubernatorial primary in 2009 to state Sen. Creigh Deeds, had said he would defer to Warner if the senator decided to run.
Warner, who served as Virginia’s 69th governor from 2002 to 2006, is a member of the Senate’s most recent “Gang of Six,” a bipartisan group of senators studying the nation’s $16 trillion debt crisis.
Elected to the Congress in 2008, Warner will become the senior senator from Virginia in 2013, when retiring U.S. Sen. Jim Webb’s term ends and Senator-elect Tim Kaine will take his seat.
“When I asked Virginians to hire me as their senator, I made a promise to come to Washington to try to be a problem solver,” Warner said. “Let me admit, it’s been tougher than I expected. But I’ve tried to keep at it; it’s what I’ve been trying to do through my bipartisan work to fix our debt and deficits.”
On the Republican side, Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli are battling for their party’s nomination.
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