Coburn rules out third-party run
© Greg Nash

Former Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnDemocrats step up hardball tactics in Supreme Court fight COVID response shows a way forward on private gun sale checks Inspector general independence must be a bipartisan priority in 2020 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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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."