BOSTON — Former Sen. Scott Brown said Friday he would not run in a special Senate election in Massachusetts, dealing a setback to Republican hopes of winning the seat being vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry.
Brown, who electrified his party with an upset win in a 2010 special election but lost his re-election bid in November, ended weeks of intense speculation about his future with a statement announcing his decision.
"I was not at all certain that a third Senate campaign in less than four years, and the prospect of returning to a Congress even more partisan than the one I left, was really the best way for me to continue in public service at this time," he said.
GOP officials considered Brown the strongest possible Republican candidate in a state that traditionally favors Democrats.
Brown won the special election for longtime Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat following his death, but lost a bruising re-election battle last year to Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Democrats have two congressmen in the race to replace Kerry, who resigned his seat and was sworn in Friday as secretary of state: U.S. Reps. Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch will face off in an April 30 primary.
Gov. Deval Patrick this week named William "Mo" Cowan, a former top aide, to fill Kerry's seat until the election.