Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour says he will not be a presidential candidate in 2012. The announcement come after months of speculation that the former head of the Republican National Committee would run for the White House.
A statement from the governor about his decision not to run for president says, "I will not be a candidate for president next year. This has been a difficult, personal decision, and I am very grateful to my family for their total support of my going forward, had that been what I decided.
"Hundreds of people have encouraged me to run and offered both to give and raise money for a presidential campaign. Many volunteers have organized events in support of my pursuing the race. Some have dedicated virtually full time to setting up preliminary organizations in critical, early states and to helping plan what has been several months of intensive activity.
"I greatly appreciate each and every one of them and all their outstanding efforts. If I have disappointed any of them in this decision, I sincerely regret it.
"A candidate for president today is embracing a ten-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else. His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate. I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required.
"This decision means I will continue my job as Governor Mississippi, my role in the Republican Governors Association and my efforts to elect a new Republican president in 2012, as the stakes for the nation require that effort to be successful."
In recent weeks, Barbour has visited key primary and caucus states frequented by candidates considering running for President. Barbour had promised to announce his decision on the 2012 race this month after the Mississippi legislature settled on a state budget and wrapped up the 2011 session.
The decision will bring a sigh of relief from First Lady Marsha Barbour told WLOX News the idea of her husband running for the highest office in the land horrified her.
"He is seriously looking at it, it horrifies me. It's a very overwhelming task and he's going out and doing some things just to see if he gets that fire in his belly . If he's not passionate about it there's no reason for him to run."
WLOX News will bring you reaction to the governor's decision later today on WLOX News and wlox.com.