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Franks bows out of Senate race

U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (File photo)

U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (File photo)

A day before he was expected to announce he was running for the U.S. Senate, Congressman Trent Franks stunned the political community Friday with an announcement that he will not run to replace Sen. Jon Kyl in 2012.

Franks was planning to announce his candidacy tomorrow after an Arizona Republican Party fundraiser featuring Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann. But today, he released a statement saying he would instead seek reelection to the House of Representatives.

“I have made no secret about the fact that I was very actively considering the possibility and leaning strongly in the direction of running,” Franks said in a press release today. “After diligently and prayerfully trying to consider every aspect a potential Senate bid would entail, I have sincerely concluded that mounting a Senate bid at this time would not be what is best for my family, nor what would best allow me to serve my country at this critical time in her history.”

A staffer at Franks’ Washington, D.C., office said the congressman decided not to run for the Senate for family reasons. The staffer, who did not give her name, declined to elaborate.

Franks’ surprising announcement leaves U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake as the lone Republican and runaway favorite in the race to succeed Sen. Jon Kyl.

“Trent is a good friend and I’m glad I won’t have to face off against him in a campaign,” Flake said in a press release.

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