Former Maine Gov. John Baldacci will not run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Olympia Snowe. That's according to the Bangor Daily News, which reports that Baldacci told them he couldn't make the six-year commitment.
Baldacci, 57, is currently director of Military Health Reform for the Department of Defense. Federal law prohibits him from politicking while he holds that job.
According to the BDN, Baldacci's contract is set to expire this month, and he's planning to return to Hampden.
"I'm more about Maine than I am about Washington," the paper quotes him as saying. Baldacci served four terms in Congress before being elected governor in 2002.
UPDATE 11:18 AM ET:
Moments ago, Gov. Baldacci issued the following statement:
Today, I am announcing that I will not seek the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate.
For the past year, I have had the great honor and privilege of working for the Department of Defense on military health care.
I am very proud of the work I have done and the opportunity that I was given to try to make our health care system work better for the brave men and women who serve in our military and their families. I’ve had the pleasure to work with very talented and dedicated people and it’s my hope that the work we have done will have a lasting and positive impact on military families.
The position has also given me a fresh perspective on public service.
Two weeks ago, when my friend, Olympia Snowe, announced her retirement from the U.S. Senate, friends and supporters started contacting me about a potential run.
I was flattered and began to consider the possibilities of a return to public service as an elected official.
For the past two weeks, hundreds of volunteers from across Maine have been gathering signatures on my behalf. They have done amazing work in a short amount of time, and I am truly impressed with their drive and ability to pull together a formidable political organization so quickly, and to collect more than 2,000 signatures from all over the state.
I’ve also had the opportunity to talk with many old friends and former colleagues, to reconnect and restart conversations we have been having about our state and our country for many years.
I had the chance to meet many new people who are engaged in politics and care deeply about the direction of our country.
The experience has left me incredibly optimistic about our state.
And, frankly, it has been a lot of fun.
For me, politics has always been about the people you represent, the people you meet and talk to, the folks who need your help and put their trust in you, who are convinced that you can make things better.
I’ve always tried to put their interests ahead of my own.
This is not the right time for me personally.
I have been part of public service for 30 years.
I am proud of what we have accomplished together.
We’ve worked for Maine jobs and a stronger Maine economy in many different ways, standing with workers in the paper mills from Millinocket to Baileyville, and today thousands have jobs because as we fought for our paper industry.
We also worked to ensure a diverse economy – defending Portsmouth Naval Shipyard during the base closure process and keeping that facility operating and strong; promoting new jobs in clean energy and energy conservation; and working to raise our minimum wage so that working families can earn a decent living and providing access to high quality health care.
We’ve invested in our state, too – broadband, passenger and expanded freight rail service – all vital parts of making our economy and our state work. We’ve also continued to invest is conservation with more than 1 million additional acres of important environmental areas preserved to fulfill a part of Governor Baxter’s dream for a state park for all of our citizens.
Together we made choices for our fellow citizens – passing comprehensive health insurance before anyone else and making sure that thousands of our neighbors had the access to live-saving medical treatment; as well as being the first Governor in the nation to willingly sign a law allowing same-sex couples to legally marry.
I am proud of the work we accomplished in my administration, just as I am proud of the work I have done in Washington.
I have spent the last year working on health care for the Department of Defense.
My time at the Pentagon has allowed me to find new ways to serve the public. And while my work there is drawing to a close, I remain committed to public service and hope to remain involved.
But it’s time for me to come home to Maine, not to re-up for a potential six more years down in Washington. This is the right decision for me and my family.
I again want to thank all the people who have worked so hard over the last two weeks to gather more than 2,000 signatures.
It’s been an incredible experience, and I am humbled and grateful.