BOSTON (CBS) – Former Senator Scott Brown announced Friday that he is not running for the open U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts.
Brown told WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson he’s out of the race for “a couple of reasons.”
“I did a state senate run, then a special election and then a general election, and this special and general election would mean 5 elections in 5 years,” he said.
“It is too much right now after an intense election cycle.”
The news comes as a bit of surprise. Earlier in the week, there were reports he was “leaning strongly” towards running again.
“I can certainly understand the desire not to enter into a third grueling run for Senate in three years, with the prospect of a fourth coming up next year if he won,” WBZ-TV political analyst Jon Keller told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.
“On the other hand, recent history suggests the circumstances of a short sprint, low turnout special election is the only way a Republican can get elected statewide here in Massachusetts. Scott Brown is signaling that at least for now, he’s had enough politics.”
Brown was elected to the Senate in 2010 in a special election following the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy. But he was defeated in November by Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
Despite the loss, he remains popular in polls and he still has a statewide political organization.
“I have no regrets,” Brown said Friday. “I did what I said I was going to do. I am the luckiest guy in the world.”
Brown told Anderson his wife Gail wanted him to run, but he still thinks there will be a “good solid Republican candidate” on the ballot.
Brown said the most frustrating thing about the race against Warren was that wherever he and his wife went people would say, “We love you!” But, when he asked if they voted for him, many people would say “No.” When he asked why, he said, ” Because they feared that Republicans were taking away people’s rights. They should know better than that.”
“The bottom line is if he’s looking for a break and looking to go make some money and recharge, he won’t have a whole lot of time to go do that. If you want to run for governor of Massachusetts in 2014, you’ve already got to be cranking up your operation,” Keller said.
“It may well be that this marks the end of the Scott Brown era in Massachusetts politics.”
However, when Anderson asked him about a run for governor, Brown replied ”It’s too early to say.”
When Sen. John Kerry was nominated to become Secretary of State, it set up another special election in Massachusetts.
Congressmen Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch are running against each other for the Democratic nomination.
“I understand Scott Brown’s decision,” Lynch said in a statement Friday afternoon.
“He has basically been campaigning non-stop for three years. It’s perfectly understandable that he wouldn’t want to undertake another campaign. I wish all the best to Scott and his family.”
Markey echoed Lynch’s statement.
“I respect Scott Brown’s decision and know that he did what he thought was best for him and his family,” Markey said in a statement.
Some have speculated that former Gov. William Weld or former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey would run on the Republican side if Brown did not.
The primary is April 30. The general election is set for June 25.
Gov. Deval Patrick named his former Chief of Staff Mo Cowan to fill the seat on an interim basis Wednesday.
Here is Brown’s full prepared statement on his decision, released Friday afternoon:
“Representing Massachusetts in the United States Senate was the greatest privilege of my life, an experience that takes second place only to my marriage to Gail and the birth of our daughters. It was a higher honor than I had ever expected, and in the time given to me I always tried to make the most of it.
“When I was first sent to the Senate in early 2010, it wasn’t exactly welcome news for President Obama or many other Democrats. Yet among my best memories from those three years in office are visits to the White House to see the President sign into law bills that I had sponsored. I left office last month on the best of terms with colleagues both Republican and Democrat. I had worked well with so many of them, regardless of party, to serve the public interest just as we are all supposed to. All of this was in keeping with the pledge I made at the beginning to do my own thinking and to speak for the independent spirit of our great state.
“Over these past few weeks I have given serious thought about the possibility of running again, as events have created another vacancy requiring another special election. I have received a lot of encouragement from friends and supporters to become a candidate, and my competitive instincts were leading in the same direction.
“Even so, I was not at all certain that a third Senate campaign in less than four years, and the prospect of returning to a Congress even more partisan than the one I left, was really the best way for me to continue in public service at this time. And I know it’s not the only way for me to advance the ideals and causes that matter most to me.
“That is why I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for the United States Senate in the upcoming special election.”