WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. Carol Shea-Porter announced Monday she would not run for Senate in 2010, helping New Hampshire Democrats avert what could have been a divisive primary.
"I thank the many people in New Hampshire and Washington, D.C. who have asked me to run, but I have decided that I do not want to run for the U.S. Senate," she said in a statement. "I love the House of Representatives and the work I am involved in there to help the people of New Hampshire."
Shea-Porter was first elected in 2006, beating Republican Rep. Jeb Bradley by just over 5,100 votes. In 2008, Shea-Porter defeated Bradley again, this time by 20,000-plus votes.
Had Shea-Porter decided to run for Senate, she would have faced off against Rep. Paul Hodes in a fight for the Democratic nomination. Hodes, who was also elected to the House in 2006, has already declared his candidacy for the Senate.
"I have the utmost admiration and respect for Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter," Hodes said in a statement. "I see her stand up and fight for New Hampshire every day, serving alongside her in the House of Representatives. I am honored to call her my colleague and my friend and know she will continue to serve the people of New Hampshire with honor and distinction as their Congresswoman."
Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, who withdrew his name from consideration to be President Obama's commerce secretary, is retiring when his term expires in 2010. There is speculation that former Sen. John Sununu, a Republican who was defeated in 2008, is considering running for Gregg's seat.