Davis formally announces he will not run for Senate

Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., on Thursday said he would not run for the Republican Senate nomination in 2008.

Davis is the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He declined to say whether he would seek re-election to his Northern Virginia house seat, but hinted his political career was not over.

"The rumors of my demise are a bit exaggerated," Davis said at a breakfast briefing with reporters. Davis' political future has been in flux since the GOP's state central committee decided earlier this month to hold a convention rather than a primary to select the GOP nominee for the seat of retiring Republican Sen. John Warner.

That decision was seen as a boost for his chief potential rival for the nomination, former Gov. Jim Gilmore. Davis said he has poured a lot of energy into his 2006 campaign and the state Senate re-election campaign of his wife, state Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis, who faces a strong Democratic challenger.

"I've had two exhausting years on the campaign trail," Davis said.

Davis said the party should be working to expand the base with a primary rather than courting the GOP base. He added that he and former Gov. Mark Warner, the presumptive Democratic nominee, both draw from the same donor base, making it more difficult for him to raise money.

Davis said that any Republican nominee will have to run against the tide of Virginia's changing demographics, which have favored Democrats in recent elections. "It makes it just a very difficult race," Davis said.

Gilmore, who is expected to enter the Senate race, has said he will not declare his Senate intentions until after the Nov. 6 state legislative elections and has not ruled out a 2009 gubernatorial run. Asked whether he would support Gilmore's senatorial campaign, Davis said, "I'll support the nominee of the party."

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