State Senator Alan Bates (D-Ashland) has decided against running for the U.S. Senate.
The Ashland Democrat cited "unfinished business" in the state Legislature as one of the reasons he will not try to run against Republican U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon who is seeking a third term in 2008.
Bates, 62, co-author of a law enacted earlier this year that lays the groundwork for universal health care coverage in Oregon, had said that the lingering Iraq war and Congress' slow progress on health care reform got him seriously thinking about taking on Smith, who won re-election handily in 2004.
"At this point, my family, my patients, and legislative work for universal health coverage for all Oregonians takes precedence over a bid for the U.S. Senate," Bates said in a statement. "Although I am extremely gratified by the support and encouragement I've received in the last few weeks, I believe that my focus must remain here in Oregon."