Former Maine  Gov. John Baldacci has decided not to run for the U.S. Senate, he said today.

In a statement, Baldacci said “this is not the right time for me personally” to run for the seat, which is currently held by Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.

In his statement, Baldacci said he considered running after Snowe said late last month that she would not seek re-election, but ultimately made the decision not to run late Tuesday night.

Baldacci said he had collected enough signatures to qualify for the Democratic primary before making the decision.

In a brief news conference in front of Bangor City Hall today, Baldacci said he has been very serious about running for the Senate, but utlimately determined that his family would be better off if he returns to Maine after wrapping up a Pentagon job dealing with veterans’ health care. The contract for his position expires March 23

Baldacci echoed Snowe’s reasons for not running, saying the partisanship in Washington means little is being accomplished in Congress.

Baldacci, who served eight years in the House before two terms at Maine’s governor, said he felt there is pressure building for more members of Congress to work across the aisle.

“I was very interested in being part of that effort,” he said, but wants to return to Maine where he and his wife have a home in Holden and their son Jack is at the University of Maine.

Baldacci’s name was the biggest among potential Democratic candidates after U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, decided last week to run for re-election to her District 1 seat rather than run for the Senate.

Other potential candidates for the Democratic nomination include state Sen. Cynthia Dill, D-Cape Elizabeth; state Rep. Jon Hinck, D-Portland; Benjamin Pollard, a home builder from Portland; and fomer Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap.

Leading Republican contenders include Scott D’Amboise of Lisbon Falls; Secretary of State Charlie Summers; State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin; former Maine state Senate President Rick Bennett; and Attorney General Bill Schneider.

Former Gov. Angus King is running as an independent.

Baldacci noted that he is currently working for the Pentagon on military health care issues. That would normally preclude him from running for federal office, but the contract for that job runs out at the end of the month.

“It’s time for me to come home to Maine, not to re-up for a potential six more years down in Washington,” Baldacci said. “This is the right decision for me and my family.”

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