CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The head of the state Democratic Party says Charleston lawyer Nick Preservati will not run for U.S. Senate in 2014.
"It's my understanding that he's taken his name out, but I've not heard that directly from him," said Larry Puccio, chairman of the West Virginia Democrat Party.
Multiple calls and messages left for Preservati were not returned. Preservati told the Daily Mail in March he was "seriously considering" challenging Rep. Shelley Moore-Capito in the race for Sen. Jay Rockefeller's seat next year.
MetroNews reported sources as saying Monday that Preservati, 40, and his wife are adopting a child and that related developments were a factor in his decision not to run.
Capito announced late last year she would run for Senate. A few weeks later, Rockefeller announced he would not seek re-election.
Another Democrat, Wheeling attorney Ralph Baxter, also announced earlier this year he was considering a run for U.S. Senate. He said last week he would not seek political office next year, however.
Baxter said he does not have time to organize a 2014 campaign.
"People who plan on running for office in 2014 need to be working on that right now," he said. "If I were going to run, I'd need to focus on that right now."
Although both original Democrat candidates are officially out of the running, Puccio said he is confident the party will be able to maintain control of Rockefeller's seat.
He said he expects to hear campaign announcements from an "outstanding candidate or two" within the next few weeks.
"We've had a few very, very good candidates that were considering running, some current officeholders and some not," he said.
Puccio said making a run for Congress is a big decision that candidates don't take lightly.
"This is a very tough decision you have to weigh out. You're going to Washington. You're leaving family, you're leaving friends. When you come home ... you're hearing constituents' concerns."
Conrad Lucas, chairman of the state Republican Party, said the lack of Democrat contenders in the Senate race "really speaks to the strength of Shelley Moore Capito and the Republican Party here in West Virginia."
"It's amazing how quickly we've gone from a state where Democrats were considered a shoe-in for anything and a few years later, arguably the most important race on the ballot, they can't even find someone to try," he said. "This is a Republican win."