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Davis Confirms He’s Passing on Senate Bid, Doesn’t Address Re-election Plans

Citing his family’s exhaustion with running tough back-to-back campaigns and his concern with a nominating format that he says will only hinder the eventual Republican nominee, Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) said this morning that he will not run for the Virginia Senate seat being vacated in 2008 by Sen. John Warner (R).

Davis, who is rumored to now be pondering a lucrative jump to K Street, was noncommittal about whether he would seek re-election to his House seat next year.

“We’ll talk about that another day,” Davis said at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor. “But we’re still raising money.”

After the meeting, Davis gave little insight as to when he might reveal his decision about running for re-election.

“I always [make that announcement] in February but we’ll see,” he said in an interview.

Davis, who had long talked about his interest in Warner’s seat, had been considered a frontrunner for the Republican nomination, but popular former Gov. Mark Warner’s (D) entry into the race in September instantly made the race an uphill challenge for Republicans.

Then Davis’ chances were dealt a blow when state Republicans decided to hold a nominating convention rather than a primary to determine their candidate. As a moderate on social issues, Davis was expected to have a hard time winning a GOP convention, which is dominated by the conservative party faithful.

This morning, Davis made it clear that he felt he could carry a convention. But, he said, that format would hamstring the nominee in getting an early start campaigning statewide and building critical name recognition and support among voters in various battleground areas.

And while Davis said that “nobody is unbeatable,” he acknowledged that Mark Warner “is a very affable guy. He’s got a lot of money. He’s got an organization in the state.”

Meanwhile, Davis said, in the Commonwealth, “Republicans get more excited about beating other Republicans and that’s not a formula for victory.”

Davis said he would support whomever the eventual nominee is for the Virginia Senate seat, but added, “I think I was the guy who could have given us a chance at winning a seat that otherwise will be difficult to hold.”

On whether former Gov. Jim Gilmore, the presumed frontrunner for the Republican Senate nomination, might be too conservative a candidate in a state whose political landscape is changing, Davis said, “I’m not the only one concerned about that.”

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