Frist Declines Run for Tenn. Governor

Ex-majority leader says he'll sit out 2010 race, focus on health care
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2009 9:58 AM CST
In this Sept. 4, 2008 file photo, Bill Frist speaks at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.    (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds, File)
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(Newser) – Bill Frist was widely considered the Republican to beat in Tennessee’s 2010 gubernatorial election, but yesterday the former Senate majority leader announced that he wouldn’t even be in the running. “I have decided to remain a private citizen for the foreseeable future,” said Frist, who likewise flouted expectations in 2006, when he decided against running for president.

Frist isn’t quite retiring from politics, saying he would continue fighting for affordable health care, and launch a “statewide, nonpartisan, grassroots education initiative” this month. But his departure leaves the Republican primary wide open, in a gubernatorial election the GOP is optimistic about.