BOSTON (AP) - Republican former Sen. Scott Brown has decided not to run in a Massachusetts special election to fill Democrat John Kerry's seat, dealing a blow to Republicans.
Brown released a statement on Friday afternoon, saying that while he was very proud of his time in the Senate, he did not think that a run would be best at this time.
"I was not at all certain that a third Senate campaign in less than four years, and the prospect of returning to a Congress even more partisan than the one I left, was really the best way for me to continue in public service at this time. And I know it's not the only way for me to advance the ideals and causes that matter most to me," Brown wrote.
Brown won the 2010 special election for longtime Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat following his death, but lost a bruising re-election battle last year to Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The Republican remained popular among Massachusetts voters and still had a statewide political organization and demonstrated an ability to raise tens of millions in campaign donations.
GOP officials in Washington and Massachusetts widely considered Brown the strongest possible Republican candidate in a state that traditionally favors Democrats.
With Brown out of the running, potential Republican candidates include former Gov. William Weld and former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey.
Weld, who recently returned to Massachusetts to join Mintz Levin, a Boston law firm, has said he would consider a run for the Senate if Brown did not seek the seat. He did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
A message was also left with Healey, who served as lieutenant governor under then-Gov. Mitt Romney from 2003-2007 and lost the governor's race to Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick in 2006.
U.S. Reps. Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch are seeking the Democratic nomination for the seat being vacated by Kerry, who has resigned his seat to become secretary of state.
The Democratic and Republican primaries are scheduled for April 30 and the special election for June 25. Patrick this week named William "Mo" Cowan, a former top aide, to fill the seat on an interim basis until the election.
The general election is June 25.