By Alexander Bolton - 11/20/12 08:40 PM EST
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has announced that he will not run for governor, sparing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) a headache in the 2014 election cycle.
“I loved being governor, but I have a different job now -- and it’s here, in the United States Senate,” Warner said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.
Warner has been at the center of informal bipartisan talks for more than two years aimed at reaching a broad deficit-reduction. Most recently, he and a group of Senate colleagues have tried to forge a deal based on the work of the Simpson-Bowles Commission.
“At times, it’s been frustrating. But I believe this work is important for Virginia, and for our country, and I intend to see it through,” Warner said.
Warner’s decision to stay in the Senate spares Reid and Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the Senate Democrats’ chief political strategist, the tough assignment of trying to find a candidate to replace him in Virginia.
The 2014 cycle is likely to be difficult for Democrats as the president’s party often loses seats in the midterm election of his second term.
Warner, who served as Virginia’s governor from 2002 to 2006, signaled that he would likely not run for his old job earlier this month when he gave a green light for former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe to launch a bid.
Warner’s decision to skip the race makes McAuliffe the early favorite in the race. He could face Lit. Gov. Bill Bolling or state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the general election.
Former Virginia governor and Sen.-elect Tim Kaine (D) said at his post-election press conference earlier this month that he hoped Warner would stay in the Senate.
"I really want Mark to stay," Kaine said. "What Mark is doing with the Gang of Six is important and not just fiscal."