Janet Napolitano No-Go on Senate Run; Wants to Focus on Border Security

Former Arizona governor and current Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today that she will not seek the Senate seat being vacated by Senator Jon Kyl.

Napolitano is the latest politico to announce she won't be running. Congressmen Ben Quayle, and Raul Grijalva, as well as former Congressman John Shadegg, have all ruled out a potential Senate bid. Former Arizona Democratic Party Chairman Jim Pederson, who ran against Kyl in 2006, has also said he won't pursue the seat.

In a statement, Napolitano spokesman Sean Smith says the former governor is more interested in staying in her current gig.

"Secretary Napolitano told senior Democratic Party leaders earlier this week that she will not seek Arizona's open U.S. Senate seat in 2012. She cares deeply about Arizona, but the Secretary intends to continue doing the job that the President asked her to do - protecting the American people from terrorism and other threats to our country. She's focused on continuing to strengthen our counter-terrorism initiatives, border security, immigration enforcement, transportation and cyber security, and disaster preparedness."

Napolitano has been considered a favorite within the Democratic Party to run for the open seat. Another favorite is Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who continues to recover in a Houston hospital after being shot "though the brain" during the January 8, shooting rampage in Tucson.

Whether Giffords will even be able to mount a Senate campaign is unclear.

Whomever the Democrats choose will likely face Congressman Jeff Flake, who announced his candidacy earlier this week, and is considered a strong GOP candidate, despite some of his more centrist leanings.

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James King
Contact: James King