Former Rep. Jeb Bradley, R-N.H., told New Hampshire's WMUR-TV that he will not run for statewide office next year, removing one of the party's top potential Senate candidates.
Bradley, now the state Senate majority leader, cited family health issues for his decision. He would have been the favorite in a GOP primary for Senate. Some Republican insiders had said in recent weeks that Bradley might opt for a gubernatorial bid, but he made clear Tuesday that he was not interested in either the governor's mansion or the Senate.
The announcement leaves former state Sen. Jim Rubens and conservative activist Karen Testerman as likely candidates to take on Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who is running for a second term.
Republicans also are eyeing a third candidate for the race: Dan Innis, dean of the business and economics school at the University of New Hampshire. Innis, who is gay and married, also owns the Ale House Inn in Portsmouth.
"He would be a newcomer but obviously a fresh face without the baggage of having run before," Republican National Committeeman Steve Duprey said.
The eventual Republican nominee will have a tough race against Shaheen, who had $2.2 million in cash on hand as of June 30. The race is rated Democrat Favored by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
Duprey predicted that no matter who the GOP nominee is, "if the polls show any vulnerability at all, it’s a state that could attract a lot of money fast."