Roy Cooper (D)

RALEIGH, N.C. (Legal Newsine)-- North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced Friday he will not seek the Democratic nomination to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr in 2010.

In a letter to supporters, the third-term attorney general said he wishes to remain in the Tar Heel State.

"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. I am committed to public service and I want to serve here in North Carolina rather than in Washington," Cooper said.

Cooper's decision not to run comes the same week as he visited the White House with the men's basketball team from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this year's NCAA champions.

Political analysts say Cooper's decision not to seek the nomination eliminates what would have been a serious political threat to Burr, who is serving his first term in the Senate.

Burr, who is widely considered to be one of the most vulnerable Republican senators facing re-election campaigns in 2010, was elected in 2004 after serving in the House of Representatives since 1995.

Potential Democratic challengers include former State Treasurer Richard Moore. U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, had considered running against Burr but decided against it.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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