Coburn rules out third-party run
© Greg Nash

Former Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Worries grow about political violence as midterms approach President Trump’s war on federal waste American patients face too many hurdles in regard to health-care access MORE (R-Okla.) on Wednesday ruled out launching a third-party presidential campaign.

“I am not in that race and won’t be,” he said in a statement, according to The Daily Caller.

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Activists are seeking an alternative to Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Centrists change tone of Democratic race In 2020, democracy will be decided at the margins Michelle Obama presents Lin-Manuel Miranda with National Portrait Award MORE and presumptive GOP nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE.

Coburn emerged as a possibility for conservatives due to his reputation for combating wasteful government spending during his tenure in Congress.

Activists hoped he could rally conservatives against Clinton and Trump despite lingering questions about his health. Coburn, 68, retired in 2014 after a recurrence of prostate cancer.

Reports emerged last weekend that Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee, was courting prospects for a third-party bid against Trump.

Romney reportedly pressured Republicans Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, both of whom are vocal Trump critics.

John Weaver, Kasich’s chief strategist, said last week that Kasich has no interest in launching an independent run after suspending his GOP presidential campaign earlier this month.

Sasse, meanwhile, has also taken his name out of the running, citing obligations to his family that would suffer on the campaign trail.

“The answer is no,” spokesman James Wegmann said earlier this month. "Sen. Sasse has been clear when asked this before: He has three little kids and the only callings he wants — raising them and serving Republicans.”

And Romney himself does not want to mount a campaign or continue looking for a third-party challenger, Yahoo News reported Tuesday.

“[Romney] is not now engaged in an effort to recruit any third party candidate,” a confidant of Romney’s said in an email.

“He thinks someone should run,” they added. "That’s his role. That’s the beginning and end of it. Is he organizing it? No. But he has talked to people who have thought about it."