Mark Warner, the Democratic senator from Virginia and governor from 2002 to 2006, has decided not to run for governor next year. The Washington Post's Ben Pershing reports:
Warner’s decision means that, barring a surprise entrant, the Democratic field is clear for businessman Terry McAuliffe. On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II are battling for their party’s nod.
Warner, who held the commonwealth’s top job from 2002 through the start of 2006, had refused to rule out a return engagement in recent weeks, as a series of polls confirmed that he remains popular statewide and would be the instant favorite if he ran. But few Virginia Democratsexpected Warner to run, and he said Tuesday that he had decided to stay put after giving the question “serious, heartfelt consideration.”
McAuliffe first ran for governor in 2009, losing the Democratic nomination to Creigh Deeds. Deeds was defeated that year by Republican Bob McDonnell.