State Sen. Cam Ward, a top Republican in Alabama, declined Wednesday to run for the newly open 6th District, saying he will run for re-election in the state legislature instead.
"God has given me a short window of time to spend with a little girl who means more to me than anything in this world," Ward said in a statement to Al.com, referring to his autistic daughter. "The fact is she has made tremendous progress, but it has taken both of us, my wife Julie and me, being there every day for her and running for Congress at this time would essentially make me a part-time father and I just can't do that."
Ward was mentioned as a potential front-runner to succeed Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., who announced on Monday that he will not seek re-election after serving 11 terms in Congress. Local operatives said if Ward had entered the contest, many of the half-dozen other Republicans eyeing bids for the seat likely would have stayed out of the race.
As a result, Ward's exit creates a wide-open opportunity for the other GOP hopefuls. They include state Sens. Slade Blackwell and Scott Beason, state Reps. Paul DeMarco and Jack Williams, and Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead.
Alabama's 6th District is rated a Safe Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.