Vt. Gov. Douglas declines reelection, bid for the White House

Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (R) announced Thursday that he would not seek reelection to a fifth term in office, declining to run for any higher office in the immediate future.

"I will not seek another term as governor of Vermont," Douglas said during a press conference at Vermont's statehouse in Burlington.

"I know there will be some speculation about my future plans," Douglas quickly added. "I am not running for president. I'm not running for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House or any other office in 2010."

Douglas, a centrist Republican, has been elected to four two-year terms as Vermont's governor. National Republicans had sought to draw him into the Senate race in 2006, to run against then-Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for the open seat.

While Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is up for reelection in 2010, Sanders won't be up until 2012 -- leaving the slightest possibility open that Douglas could challenge the considerably less entrenched Sanders (relative to Leahy, at least) in that cycle.

Douglas cited a desire to hand over the reins of state government to someone new as part of his desire to decline reelection, noting that his first grandson had been born recently, and that he wished to spend more time with family after a grueling work schedule.