Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown will not seek the Republican nomination for Senate in a special election to replace Sen. John Kerry, the Democrat who on Friday was being sworn in as secretary of state.
The decision leaves Republicans in deep blue Massachusetts scrambling to find a candidate who can be competitive in a special election just five months away.
Brown, who won a 2010 special election for the seat of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, lost the seat in November to Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
"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," Brown said in a statement. "That is why I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for the United States Senate in the upcoming special election."
"Brown had long been considered the party's strongest and most likely candidate. The party may now turn to former governor William F. Weld or former lieutenant governor Kerry Healey."
"Beyond that, the list of credible candidates is thin. Weld has left open the possibility he would run, but associates say he is unlikely to leave his law and consulting practice to resume a political career."
The special election will be held June 25. On Wednesday, Gov. Deval Patrick named Boston lawyer and former aide William Cowan as Kerry's interim replacement, but Cowan has said he will not run in the special election.
Reps. Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch both have announced that they are seeking the Democratic nomination, which will be decided in an April 30 party primary.