Warner takes self out of VP mix

June 14, 2008 6:22:44 PM PDT
Former Gov. Mark R. Warner on Saturday removed himself from consideration as a vice presidential running mate for Democrat Barack Obama. Warner clarified his intentions for the first time as he accepted the Virginia Democratic Convention's nomination for a U.S.

Senate race this fall.

"I have not sought and I will not accept any other opportunity," Warner told cheering convention delegates.

He was one of three Virginia Democrats frequently mentioned as potential Obama ticketmates. Neither of the other two, Sen. Jim Webb or Gov. Tim Kaine, have ruled out a run with Obama.

"Today, in front of this convention, I wanted to make it clear what I am focused on," Warner said. Until Saturday, he had downplayed his interest but stopped short of precluding a spot on the ticket if Obama asked.

Both parties say Virginia is in play this year, and Obama has shown he intends to campaign aggressively in a state the Democrats last won in a presidential election in 1964. His first campaign swing after securing the delegates necessary for the Democratic nomination was June 5 through Virginia.

Warner, who is favored over Republican former Gov. Jim Gilmore in the Senate race. He was uncontested as the Democratic nominee for the seat Sen. John W. Warner has kept securely Republican for 30 years. The former governor and retiring senator are friends, but not related.

With no nominations to decide, Saturday's convention became a pep rally for Warner's race. He was the only Democrat to repeatedly bring the crowd of more than 2,000 to its feet.