Mark Warner is sticking with Congress.
The first term Democratic Senator from Virginia announced Tuesday that he won't make a bid next year for his old job as the state's governor.
"I loved being Governor, but I have a different job now - and it's here, in the United States Senate," Warner said in a statement, citing a commitment he made to go to Washington and "be a problem solver."
Warner, who was elected Virginia governor in 2001 before winning election to the U.S. Senate in 2008 (by state law, Virginia governors cannot run for consecutive terms), said earlier this month that he would announce by Thanksgiving if he'd stay in the Senate or make a run for his old job.
"I hope my value add in Congress is to continue working hard every day to not simply blame the other side, but to actually try to find common ground so we can get stuff done," he said. "At times, it's been frustrating. But I believe this work is important for Virginia, and for our country, and I intend to see it through."
If Warner had decided to make a bid for Virginia governor, a recent poll suggested it could have been his for the taking. A Quinnipiac University released survey two weeks ago indicated Warner would have been the favorite candidate as the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial campaign gets underway.
With Warner not running, Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman and former top adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton, is the only Democrat in the gubernatorial race. McAuliffe announced earlier this month that he'll make a second bid for Virginia governor. McAuliffe came in second to state Sen. Creigh Deeds in a three-candidate battle for the 2009 Democratic nomination. Deeds ended up losing by a landslide in the general election to then-Republican Attorney General Bob McDonnell.
The battle for the GOP nomination could get very interesting, with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a conservative tea party favorite, squaring off against two-term Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who is more moderate than his rival.
Bolling has Gov. McDonnell's endorsement. But the nomination will be decided next year at a state party convention, often dominated by more conservative activists, which favors Cuccinelli, rather than a primary, which could favor Bolling.
Virginia and New Jersey are the only two states to hold gubernatorial contests in the year after a presidential election