Lee: Enough senators running for president
© Greg Nash

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeDenial of services to same-sex couples can harm their health GOP Senate primary heats up in Montana Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA MORE (R-Utah) said Wednesday the Senate has “enough” members running for president in 2016, excluding himself from that group.

Lee, a Tea Party favorite, ruled out mounting a bid for the White House. He said it is “liberating” to not have to judge his policy goals through the lens of a White House run.

“The Senate has enough people running for president, and I'm not," Lee told the Washington Examiner.

Lee has not been considered a likely contender for the GOP nomination, but speculation has swirled around three other Republicans: Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rand Paul (Ky.).

While 16 senators have served as president, only three — including President Obama — made the move directly from the Senate.

"I'm glad that one of the things that I don't have to worry about is how [my policy agenda] would affect a bid for the White House," Lee said. "So, yeah, I think that is liberating in some respects."

Lee is up for reelection in 2016.

He said there is a lot of overlap between him and the other potential candidates “with one very striking difference being that I’m not running for president, and they might be.”

Earlier this month, Lee said it was a “bummer” to have three close allies considering a run for the GOP nomination at the same time.

He declined to endorse any potential candidate, saying 2016 “is still quite a long ways away.”

"I work with [Cruz and Paul], and I like both of them, and I also work with and really like Marco Rubio, and it's kind of a bummer when three of your favorite people in the Senate are all considering a run for the presidency at the same time," he told USA Today at the time.