OKLAHOMA CITY - Former U.S. Congressman J.C. Watts says he will not run for governor in 2010. Watts released the following statement:This certainly does change the landscape for the 2010 election. Speculation now turns to whether Watts is eyeing the Senate seat currently held by Dr. Tom Coburn (R-Muskogee). Coburn has not made clear his plans for re-election, but says he will announce his intent on June 1st. Former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating has said that if Coburn does not seek re-election, he would take a hard look at running.
"After much prayer and deliberation with my family and friends. It is with a heavy heart that my wife and I have decided not to run for governor in 2010."
"I have observed with great interest and pride the progress my state is making under the bold and innovative leadership of the state legislature. Nothing would give me greater joy and satisfaction than to go work with these leaders to grow and prosper Oklahoma."
"However, my current business and contractual obligations create hurdles that I cannot overcome at this time."
"Oklahoma has much to offer both nationally and internationally. I would challenge the candidates running for governor to put their best foot forward to advocate for us on both stages. The new Governor must aggressively pursue and promote the virtues of our state. I would cherish that opportunity, but unfortunately that will not be in 2010."
"Many Oklahomans, Republican and Democrat, red, yellow, black, brown and white, from all walks of life encouraged me to make the race. I am deeply honored, humbled and grateful for the confidence they have shown in me."
"I'm sorry we won't fulfill our goals together. I will continue to work for a prosperous and thriving Oklahoma, this glorious place we call home and the rest of the world calls America."
J.C. Watts, Jr.
What are your thoughts? Will Coburn run for re-election? Will Coburn announce that he is stepping aside on June 1st, and endorse J.C. Watts for his replacement? Will someone else get into the Gubernatorial race?