RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Democrat Mark R. Warner, the former governor of Virginia, has decided not to run for president in 2008, saying he wanted “a real life” and feared the impact of a drawn-out campaign on his family.

Jessica Boullion
Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner announces that he will not run for president in 2008 at a news conference in Richmond, Va., yesterday. (AP PHOTO)

“This is the right time for me in my life to have a life for a little while,” Warner told reporters at a downtown Richmond hotel.

The Democrat, 51, would not rule out running for the Senate. He also left open the possibility of a future presidential bid, but conceded: “Things will probably never be as aligned as they are right now.”

Warner said he arrived at his decision over several weeks. He said neither his wife, Lisa Collis, nor his daughters, ages 12, 15 and 16, discouraged him from running. In a written statement, he said he made the decision after celebrating his father’s 81st birthday and taking his oldest daughter on a college tour.

“I know these moments are never going to come again,” Warner said. “This weekend made clear what I’d been thinking about for many weeks – that while politically this appears to be the right time for me to take the plunge, at this point I want to have a real life.

“And while the chance may never come again, I shouldn’t move forward unless I’m willing to put everything else in my life on the back burner,” he said.

Since Warner left the governor’s office in January, he has busily toured key states in the Democratic nomination process, including New Hampshire and Iowa. His political action committee, Alexandria-based Forward Together, has raised money for Warner’s exploratory effort and for other Democratic candidates in this year’s midterm elections.

“This is not a choice that was made based on whether I would win or lose,” Warner said in his statement. “I can say with complete conviction that 15 months out from the first nomination contests, I feel we would have had as good a shot to be successful as any potential candidate in the field.”

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