NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday that he won't run for the U.S. Senate seat being opened with the retirement of his fellow Republican Bob Corker.
Haslam had been holding out hope that Corker, a close family friend, would run for a third term in the Senate, and didn't begin to seriously consider his own bid until he learned otherwise.
A statement from Haslam said he wants to focus on his remaining time as governor.
"While I have loved being a mayor and a governor, I don't feel the same call to run for Senate at this point," Haslam said. "At the end of my term, I will have been in public office for 15 years. I feel like I can be most helpful in my next service as a private citizen."
Haslam was first elected governor in 2010 and can't run again next year because of term limits. His vast personal wealth and popularity in the state would have given other Republicans contenders pause had he decided to run for Senate.
Other Republicans voicing an interest in running include U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, former Rep. Stephen Fincher and state Sen. Mark Green.