Republican Rep. Cory Gardner decided against challenging Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., on Wednesday, according to The Denver Post.
Many Colorado Republicans viewed Gardner as their strongest potential candidate. But in recent months, he showed little evidence that he was gearing up for a Senate bid.
"I've got work to do, I'm not in a hurry to run for another office," he told the paper. "I think the most important thing for people is to know now."
Even state Democrats often conceded that Gardner had political savvy. But he is also perceived as on the fast track to House leadership — a position he would risk if he mounted a difficult Senate campaign.
Although it is still early in the cycle, Republicans are frustrated with recruitment for the Senate race in Colorado. State Republicans point to recent contests — the 2010 Senate race and the 2012 presidential campaign — as proof that the state remains competitive. But Udall has a head start on fundraising and organization as the GOP continues to search for his opponent.
Other Republican prospects who surfaced over the past few months include former Rep. Bob Beauprez, state Sen. Owen Hill, state Attorney General John Suthers and state Treasurer Walker Stapleton.