Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill will not run for governor in 2016.
The Democratic lawmaker announced her decision in an interview with Kansas City Star political columnist Steve Kraske on KCUR Radio on Monday, putting to rest rumors that she would seek the job.
McCaskill said she made the decision over the holidays with her family.
“It was a tough decision in some ways and in other ways it was really simple,” she said. “I have an amazing job. I am so grateful to the people of Missouri for trusting me with this Senate seat. I am convinced where I can have greatest impact is to remain in the United States Senate.”
But while McCaskill stressed that she is a “firm no” for 2016, she won’t rule out a future run for governor.
“You never say never on anything right?” she said.
McCaskill’s interest in the governorship goes back at least a decade. A former prosecutor and state auditor, McCaskill ran for governor of Missouri in 2004, challenging incumbent Gov. Bob Holden in the Democratic primary. She triumphed in the primary but lost in the general election to Republican Matt Blunt.
She went on to be elected Senator of Missouri two years later. In 2012, she won a second Senate term, defeating Republican challenger, then-congressman Todd Akin.
Had she decided to run for governor next year, McCaskill likely would have faced a primary battle for the Democratic nomination. Missouri Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster is considering a run.
McCaskill said she would support Koster should he announce his candidacy.
Catherine Hanaway, a former Missouri Speaker of the House, already has launched a campaign for Republicans. State Auditor Tom Schweich also might enter the race.
Missouri’s Democratic governor, Jay Nixon, cannot run again in 2016 because of term limits.
Dave Helling of the Kansas City Star contributed to this report.