Cape Girardeau Mayor Jay Knudtson won't run for the legislative seat vacated by Nathan Cooper.
In a statement issued this afternoon, Knudtson said he had called Holly Lintner, chairwoman of the Republican Party's 158th Legislative District committee to take his name out of consideration.
Cooper, a Republican, resigned his Missouri House seat Aug. 14 after pleading guilty to two federal felony counts of immigration fraud. Gov. Matt Blunt set a special election for Feb. 5 to fill the remainder of Cooper's term, which ends in January 2009.
Knudtson had said he was considering a bid after hearing from friends and supporters around the city. That encouragement was welcome, Knudtson said in a prepared statement, but he declined to run because of family considerations and the desire to finish out his term.
"In the end, my decision was driven by two very fundamental issues, issues I simply could not deny," Knudston sadi in a prepared statement. "The first is my family, they have been with me since the beginning and they continue to be my 'rock' in good times and in bad. My son Gunnar is 13 years old, and I don't want to miss watching him become a young man. The other is the respect of the office that I currently serve. I consider it a great honor and privilege to represent the citizens of Cape Girardeau as their mayor, and I look forward to continuing to serve, in this capacity, until my term expires in 2010."
Republicans must act quickly to choose a candidate, Knudston said. The party, he said, needs "an individual that will restore respect and credibility to this office. In addition, this individual needs to make a complete commitment to building a relationship with the great citizens of Cape Girardeau."
Cape Girardeau County Republican Central Committee treasurer Pete Frazier has said he is considering entering the race. Among Democrats, two potential candidates -- former postmaster Mike Keefe and attorney Matt Hill -- have said they are interested in possibly running for the office.
For updates, check back at www.semissourian.com or read Tuesday's Southeast Missourian.