Sen. McCaskill Opts-Out of Gubernatorial Run, Will Stay in Senate

Image: Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) walks after leadership elections for the 114th Congress
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) walks after leadership elections for the 114th Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington November 13, 2014. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)JOSHUA ROBERTS / Reuters

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Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill announced on Monday that she will not leave the Senate and run for the governor’s mansion in 2016.

McCaskill has been contemplating leaving the Senate before the end of her term in 2018 to run for governor to replace term-limited Jay Nixon.

“I will not be running for governor in 2016,” McCaskill said on Kansas City Public Radio.

McCaskill described her thinking behind her decision, which she made over the holidays. She said the question you have to ask is if it is “a better job than the one you have and can you do more? I am convinced I can’t.”

“I can have the greatest impact is to remain in the US Senate,” McCaskill added, saying it's "very likely" she'll run for a third term.

As Republicans took over control of the Senate in January, McCaskill is one of several moderate Democrats who contemplated leaving the legislature to run their state’s executive. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp are others who have not yet made their decision about a gubernatorial run.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, remains the only member so far to announce her retirement from the Senate, which she did last week.

McCaskill began the new Congress inserting her independence by publicly opposing Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, for minority leader. She also supports the XL Keystone Pipeline, which the Senate is expected to vote on the next couple of weeks.

McCaskill said the Democratic party has a “terrific” candidate in Christ Koster, the current Attorney General of the state.

McCaskill was elected to the Senate in 2006 and won reelection in 2012 after her Republican challenger, Todd Akin, damaged his campaign after comments about the difficulty of getting pregnant after a “legitimate rape.”

- Leigh Ann Caldwell