Story Highlights• Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner announces he will not run for president in 2008
• The Democrat cites his family as a reason for not running
• Warner enjoyed high approval ratings when he left the governor's office in January
• Warner was viewed as a possible centrist alternative in the '08 race
Adjust font size:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner will not seek the Democratic presidential nomination for 2008, he said in a statement on his political action committee Web site, explaining he wanted "a real life."
"I have decided not to run for president," Warner wrote on the Web site for Forward Together, saying his family prompted the decision.
Over the weekend, Warner went to Connecticut to celebrate his father's 81st birthday and took his oldest daughter, Madison, to begin looking at colleges, he said.
"I know these moments are never going to come again. 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," Warner wrote.
"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."
Warner, who enjoyed high popularity ratings in the Republican-leaning Virginia when he left the governorship in January, had traveled to Iowa and New Hampshire, the traditional proving grounds for presidential candidates, to explore the possibility of running. He also campaigned for fellow Democrats across the country.
Many political observers saw Warner as a potential centrist candidate that could serve as an alternative to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who has not declared her candidacy but is expected to dominate the Democratic race in '08.
A longtime Democratic operative who had advised the candidate about his potential presidential run said Warner is not ruling out running for president in subsequent elections but he "wasn't up for the personal commitment of running" now.
The adviser also said Warner, 51, is leaving open the possibility of running again for Virginia governor in 2009. The source declined to give his name because he didn't want to upstage Warner's official announcement.
But since the decision came earlier, the adviser said, Warner did not want to ask backers to commit money or political support to a race he won't run.
"He had as good a year as anyone exploring -- good demand for him on the stump, the money was fine," the adviser said. "By any objective yardstick, he was doing just fine positioning himself."
But he added, "He just didn't burn for it and decided not to do it."
In his statement, Warner did not rule out seeking public office, but he did not specify what race he might enter in the future.
"My decision does not in any way diminish my desire to be active in getting our country fixed. It doesn't mean that I won't run for public office again," he wrote.
Warner said his decision was not about winning or losing.
"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," he wrote on the Web site.
CNN's Dana Bash, John King and Mark Preston contributed to this report.
Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner won't seek the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination but says he hasn't ruled out seeking public office in the future.
Quick Job Search