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"My heart continues to be for public service and I look forward to the day when the time is right," Bates wrote in an email to Roll Call today. "But today is not that day. A father gets one shot to do right by his children in their formative years, and I will continue to make that my focus. I look forward to working with the GOP nominee to ensure that we maintain principled, conservative leadership in the 4th Congressional district."
Bates' statement comes only a couple of hours after state Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington (R) declared her bid for the 4th district seat. A well-known Republican in the area, Webb-Edgington is the first and only candidate to enter the race since Davis announced his retirement.
But Republicans nonetheless expect a crowded field. Local GOP operatives name state Rep. Adam Koenig, state Sen. Damon Thayer and attorney Marcus Carey as potential candidates.
The 4th district is a safe GOP seat. That's not expected to change much after state lawmakers redraw the Congressional boundaries in the state next month.