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Breaux won't leave Senate to run for governor

Breaux: "I plan to go back to Washington and work harder than ever."  

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (CNN) -- Sen. John Breaux said Thursday he would stay in the Senate rather than run for governor of Louisiana in 2003.

Breaux, a leading moderate Democrat who first came to Congress in 1972, said that after speaking with people around the state about leaving the Senate to run for governor, he concluded he could best help Louisiana by continuing to represent the state in the Senate.

"Louisiana has a 30-year investment in me, and that cannot be discounted," he said at a news conference. "I plan to go back to Washington and work harder than ever before."

Although his term does not end until 2004, Breaux said he decided he could not have stayed in the Senate while pursuing a bid for governor in 2003.

Breaux's departure could have tipped control of the Senate back to the GOP because Gov. Mike Foster, who would have appointed a replacement, is a Republican.

Foster is barred from seeking a third term in 2003.

Breaux, 57, was first elected to the Senate in 1986 after serving 15 years in the House. He is a leading member of the Centrist Coalition, a group of moderate senators from both parties who represent a key voting block in the nearly evenly divided Senate.

The popular moderate from Lafayette took 64 percent of the vote in his last race in 1998. He said Thursday it was "far too early" to announce whether he would run for re-election to the Senate in 2004.


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