- Associated Press - Thursday, September 22, 2016

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich will not run as a write-in candidate to challenge the incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski in this fall’s Senate race in Alaska.

Begich, a Democrat, had flirted with the idea. But in a statement Thursday, Begich said it is not the right time for him to make another run for public office. He noted a desire to spend more time with his son, Jacob, who just started high school.

The days of his son “still being interested in talking with his parents are ones I should cherish and don’t want to miss,” Begich said in his statement. “When it comes to running for office down the road, we will see what the future brings.”

Begich served one term in the Senate but lost his re-election bid in 2014 to Republican Dan Sullivan. Begich said he was humbled by the encouragement he received from Alaskans to jump into this year’s race.

In 2010, Murkowski held onto her seat by mounting a successful general election write-in campaign after losing the GOP primary to tea party favorite Joe Miller. She faced no major opposition in her primary this year, and easily won.

In the November general election, Murkowski will face Miller again. Leaders of the state Libertarian party nominated Miller to replace Cean Stevens as their candidate after Stevens withdrew from the race.

The election also features independent Margaret Stock and Democrat Ray Metcalfe, who has butted heads with his party’s leadership.

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