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Rep. Everett says he won’t run for governor

WASHINGTON – Retiring U.S. Rep. Terry Everett said Tuesday he won’t run for governor of Alabama in 2010.

The Republican from Rehobeth in rural south Alabama had said in July that he was considering a bid. But he ruled it out in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press. Instead, he said he wants to stay involved in the military and space issues that he has focused on during 16 years in Congress.

“I’m not going to run for governor,” he said.

Everett, 71, announced his retirement last year, in part citing health problems. Outgoing Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright, a Democrat, won his seat in last month’s elections.

If he had run for governor, Everett would have joined what is expected to be a crowded Republican field of contenders to succeed Republican Gov. Bob Riley, who has served two terms and can’t run for a third.

One of Everett’s colleagues, U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Mobile, says he is considering a bid.

“I will concede that more than a few people have called to encourage me to keep an open mind, so I’m going to keep an open mind,” Bonner said when asked about his interest Tuesday.

Other potential GOP candidates include two-year college Chancellor Bradley Byrne, Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Attorney General Troy King, state Treasurer Kay Ivey, former lieutenant governor candidate Luther Strange, state GOP Chairman Mike Hubbard, and Secretary of State Beth Chapman.

On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom Jr., Rep. Artur Davis of Birmingham and state Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks are considered likely contenders.

Everett did not rule out working as a lobbyist, as retiring U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, is strongly considering. But Everett said he doesn’t think it’s likely.

He said he is interested in working with organizations involved in protecting the military and business assets that the nation has in space. In March he is slated to play the role of president in a government war-games exercise in Nevada. It will simulate disruptions to the satellites that are critical to military operations and the U.S. economy.