Rep. Michael N. Castle, Delaware Republican, said he will not pursue the state's U.S. Senate seat as a write-in candidate.
The veteran lawmaker, considered one of the party's leading moderates, lost in the Sept. 16 primary in a major upset to "tea party" candidate Christine O'Donnell. Her late, come-from-behind win has ended, at least temporarily, Mr. Castle's long political career, which began in the 1960s and includes two terms as governor.
"I have been humbled by the strong encouragement from so many friends, colleagues and supporters to undertake this effort," Mr. Castle said in a press release late Wednesday night. "While I would have been honored to represent Delaware in the U.S. Senate, I do not believe that seeking office in this manner is in the best interest of all Delawareans."
The decision is seen as good news for Ms. O'Donnell, who trails in the polls against New Castle County Executive Chris Coons, the Democratic nominee. Mr. Castle had been seen as a heavy favorite to win the seat long held by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
In making his decision, Mr. Castle decided not to follow in the footsteps of other disappointed GOP candidates such as Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who are pursuing independent runs for the Senate after losing to tea-party-backed rivals in their Senate primaries this year.
Mr. Castle, 71, said he and wife, Jane, still are considering what they will do after his House term ends in January.
"It's time for Jane and me to begin thinking about the next chapter of our lives," he said. "I look forward to continuing to serve our state as your congressman in the remaining months of my term in a principled manner. Delawareans deserve no less."
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