January 6, 2009 / 9:21 PM / 11 years ago

Jeb Bush says won't run for Senate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, brother of U.S. President George W. Bush, on Tuesday ruled out running for a Senate seat he had been considering contesting.

Bush, who was a popular Republican governor, said in a statement he would not run in 2010 for the Florida Senate seat that is being vacated by Republican Sen. Mel Martinez.

“While the opportunity to serve my state and country during these turbulent and dynamic times is compelling, now is not the right time to return to elected office,” he said.

Jeb Bush was said to have been torn between trying to win the Senate seat and moving to Washington or continuing his consulting firm and staying close to his family in Florida.

In his statement, the younger brother of George W. Bush said he still hoped to play a constructive role in the future of the Republican Party, which has suffered losses in the last two elections.

“We must rebuild the Party by focusing on the common purposes and core conservative principles that unite us all — limited government, a strong national defense and safe homeland and the protection of liberty tempered by personal responsibility,” Bush said.

Democrats were likely to be heartened by Bush’s decision, as a race against him might well have been more difficult than other potential Republican candidates.

Former President George H. W. Bush, father of both Jeb Bush and the current president, said this week he would like to see his second son become president one day, although he conceded in a television interview “right now is probably a bad time.”

George W. Bush will leave office on January 20 with approval ratings hovering just below 30 percent in many polls, some of the lowest of any president in history.

Reporting by Steve Holland, editing by Alan Elsner

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