Former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot (R) will not run for the Senate.
Racicot told The Hill he had decided not to run and had "strongly encouraged" Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) to seek the seat being vacated by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.).
"Over the past few months, I've had innumerable conversations with my fellow citizens about becoming a candidate for the United States Senate. While I have been grateful for their thoughts and insights, as well as humbled by their encouragement and pledges of support, I have decided not to enter the race," he told The Hill in an email.
"I hope you'll forgive the delay in getting back to you," he wrote. "I did not intend to avoid observing the manners my mother taught me, but I also wanted some time to carefully think about and respond to your question.
"I'm confident Steve would represent Montana exceptionally well and know he's carefully considering it," the former governor and Republican National Committee chairman wrote.
Democrats have struggled to recruit a candidate to replace the retiring Baucus, though in recent weeks Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D) has shown some interest in running.
The seat would seem to be a prime pickup opportunity for Republicans; Democrats hold both of the state's Senate seats right now.