He had been building a campaign operation and had met with pollsters, and initially looked likely to run, until his Senate intentions looked likely to jeopardize his and his wife's plans to adopt a child from overseas.

Democrats have yet to front a candidate, while Republicans landed a top recruit in Rep. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Moore CapitoFive takeaways from Pruitt's EPA hearing Last Congress far from ‘do-nothing’ Senators introduce dueling miners bills MORE (R ), who is currently favored in the race.

Attorney Ralph Baxter has also opted out of running, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee characterized Preservati's decision as "a deeper recruitment hole" for Democrats, who have seen a number of their top recruits decide against Senate runs.

Attention now turns to West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, who is still considering a run and who has been competitive in polling of the race.