Owens Will Not Run for Senate

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Gov. Bill Owens says now is not the right time for him, his family or Colorado to make the kind of commitment it would take for him to win a U.S. Senate seat.

Gov. Owens confirmed Tuesday afternoon he would not run for the seat being vacated by Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell. The governor plans instead to finish out his second term as governor. That term ends in 2006.

"Over the past week, I have spent time with my family and others close to me, discussing whether this is the right time for me to embark on another statewide campaign. A decision like this comes down to more than numbers, strategy and polls. It comes down to what you know in your heart is the right thing to do. The time is not right for me, for my family or for Colorado to make the kind of personal and profession commitment I know I must make to ensure victory. My family supported me if I chose to run and they support my decision not to run," says Gov. Owens.

The governor said his decision was also based on the issues facing the state.

"In 1999, the people of Colorado honored me with the best job in America. They elected me their governor and I have been grateful to them for this opportunity and this challenge every day since. For more than five years, our team has worked to build a better Colorado and it is a record of which I am very proud. The progress we've made for Colorado must be continued and that will require me to give my full attention to the issues and the agenda before the General Assembly."

First Lady Frances Owens said, "We all support Bill's decision today to put the needs of our family and Colorado ahead of this opportunity."

Gov. Owens had been considered a leading candidate for the office and was under pressure from national political officials to run.

Sen. Campbell announced last week he would not run again because of health problems.

Gov. Owens says Colorado is blessed with several leaders who would make an outstanding U.S. senator, and says he's encouraging Republican Representative Bob Beauprez to enter the race. On Tuesday, Rep. Beauprez said he has not made a decision about if he will run.

Other Possible Democratic Candidates

Democratic Representative Diana DeGette says she's grateful to Coloradans who urged her to run for the United States Senate, but says now is not the right time to run a statewide campaign.

DeGette confirmed Tuesday afternoon she would not run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Ben Nighthorse Campbell.

Last week, former Denver mayor, Democrat Wellington Webb, announced he would not seek the office.

A spokesman for Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar says the Democrat is considering running for the seat in the wake of Campbell's decision not to run. Other possible Democratic contenders include Representative Mark Udall.