Foster declines to run for U.S. Senate
Louisiana governor endorses fellow Republican
BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (CNN) -- Citing a "duty" to the state, Louisiana Gov. M. J. "Mike" Foster announced Friday he will not challenge Sen. Mary Landrieu this fall.
Instead, Foster -- whose flirtation with entering the race was closely watched by Democrats -- endorsed the candidacy of fellow Republican John Cooksey, a congressman.
"I have a duty to my state. I have a duty to my staff, and to my friends. It's my duty to stay here and do what I was elected to do," Foster said.
As a popular, sitting governor, Foster would have presented a formidable challenge to Landrieu if he had entered the U.S. Senate race.
The governor said he considered running for the seat because of "a gridlock that's developed up in Washington that can only be broken by a change in office up there in the Senate."
Cooksey then stepped up to the podium and said he had found out "just in the past hour" that Foster would be giving him the endorsement.
He said his goal is "to have a Senate that will approve justices, that will approve judicial nominees that have been made by President Bush -- judicial nominees that will remember the principles upon which this nation was founded."
The congressman will be running against Landrieu, a Democrat seeking a second term.
Cooksey is serving his third term as U.S. representative from Louisiana's 5th Congressional District.
Foster was sworn in as Louisiana's 49th governor on January 8, 1996. He was re-elected in a landslide victory four years later.
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