Washington (CNN) - Rep. Tom Cole, thought of as a likely choice to seek retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn's Senate seat, took himself out of consideration Sunday evening.
Coburn announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of the current congressional session, ending his six-year term two years early.
In a statement, Cole said he will stay out of the race.
"I have decided not to run for the U.S. Senate in 2014," the Oklahoma congressman said.
Though "flattered" by the growing speculation he would throw his hat into the ring, Cole said he felt he could do more good for Oklahomans in the House than in the Senate.
"My role as a Deputy Whip in the Republican Conference makes me much more valuable to Oklahoma and the Fourth District in the House than I could be as a freshman U.S. Senator," he added.
Despite his decision to forgo a run for a place in the upper chamber, Cole expressed confidence Republicans from his home state would find a worthy successor to Coburn.
Like Cole, that successor will not be current Oklahoma attorney General Scott Pruitt.
Pruitt, a former state senator who launched a failed bid for Oklahoma's lieutenant governor slot in 2006, cited similar reasons for not seeking Coburn's seat in a statement posted on his Facebook page.
"At present, my choice is clear," Pruitt said. "It is serving as Oklahoma's Attorney General, where I can continue to lead the fight for the preservation of our freedoms and constitutional system."
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin's office said Friday that a special election will be scheduled to coincide with this year's midterm elections. The decision means potential candidates must file by April, setting the stage for a June primary fight, and, if necessary, an August runoff.