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THE NATION

Edwards Out of '04 Senate Race

September 08, 2003|From Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina will not run for reelection in 2004 so that he can concentrate on seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, a state party official said Sunday.

"I ... decided that I will not seek reelection to the United States Senate in order to devote all of my energy to running for president," Edwards wrote in a letter received Sunday by North Carolina Democratic Party Chairwoman Barbara Allen, said Scott Falmlen, the state party's executive director.

Edwards was first elected to the Senate in 1998; he announced in January that he would seek the presidential nomination.

North Carolina law allows him to run for president and Senate simultaneously, and state Democratic officials were getting restless in recent months while Edwards mulled his decision on whether to run for one or two jobs.

Edwards' five-paragraph letter to Allen resolves that question and lets other Democratic Senate candidates begin building their campaigns.

Rep. Richard M. Burr (R-N.C.) already has announced he will run for Edwards' seat.

Former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, who lost to the GOP's Elizabeth Hanford Dole in the 2002 Senate election, and former state House Speaker Dan Blue, a Democratic primary candidate last year, also have expressed interest in Edwards' seat.

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