Raleigh, N.C. — Attorney General Roy Cooper told supporters Friday that he doesn't plan to run against U.S. Sen. Richard Burr in the 2010 election.
Democrats had seen Cooper as a strong candidate against Burr, and many party leaders asked him to consider running for the office.
"While I am honored by the encouragement I’ve received, I don’t want to go to Washington and serve as a U.S. Senator at this time," Cooper wrote in a message to supporters. "I am committed to public service, and I want to serve here in North Carolina rather than in Washington."
Cooper said he plans to continue working as attorney general for laws to help consumers dealing with bad loans, debt and foreclosure and to combat crime by targeting repeat offenders.
Since being elected in 2000, Cooper has been an outspoken advocate for consumer protection and has fought for more restrictions on sex offenders and online predators and tougher penalties for gang members. He gained national attention two years ago when he dropped charges against three Duke University lacrosse players who had been falsely accused of raping a dancer at a team party.
David Young, chairman of the state Democratic Party, said Democrats will field a "strong candidate" to challenge Burr.
"Whether opposing providing health care to the children of working families or equal pay for equal work for women, Richard Burr has failed North Carolina, and North Carolinians are tired of it," Young said in a statement.