Washington Gov. Gary Locke said Monday he would not seek a third term in office in the 2004 election.
Locke, 53, a Democrat, said he wanted to spend more time with his family. He became the nations first American of Chinese descent governor when he was elected in 1996 and is chairman of the nations Democratic governors organization.
Despite my deep love of our state, I want to devote more time to Mona, Emily and Dylan, Locke said. As profoundly important as it is to be your governor, it is just as important to me to be a good husband and father. Serving as governor has been very rewarding, challenging and personally enriching. Aside from my family, it has been the greatest experience of my life.
Locke did not offer a hint about what career he may pursue once his governorship ends in January 2005. He as been in public life 27 years, five of them as a deputy King County prosecutor.
Lockes decision leaves two Democrats in the race and a Republican is considering whether to make a bid for the post.
Republican Bob Herbold, who was Microsofts executive vice president and chief operating officer for eighty years until 2001, told the King County Journal over the weekend he was considering a run for governor. Herbold said he would make a decision over the next few weeks.
Former Washington Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge, a Democrat, had announced before Lockes decision that he would run.
Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire, a consumer advocate who led the U.S. state government negotiators in the 1998 settlement with big tobacco companies, said after Lockes announcement that she would also seek the Democratic nomination.