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12:30 pm
Wed February 10, 2010

Ilitch won't run for governor; Ehlers to bow out

LANSING, MI –

Democrat Denise Ilitch says she won't run for governor.

The University of Michigan regent said in a statement Wednesday that she has decided against joining the race because the compressed election calendar "would not allow me to run the kind of campaign for governor I believe Michigan needs at this time."

Lt. Gov. John Cherry unexpectedly withdrew last month from the Democratic governor's race, opening the way for Ilitch to consider a bid. State Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero have announced they're running, and House Speaker Andy Dillon has indicated he'll jump in soon.

Former state Treasurer Robert Bowman also is considering the race.

Meanwhile, Rep. Vernon Ehlers says in an interview with The Associated Press that he will not seek re-election to Congress in 2010.

Most of Ehlers' solidly Republican congressional district was once represented by President Gerald R. Ford.

The congressman faced a primary challenge from a conservative state lawmaker. Ehlers said a primary challenge was not a factor in his decision to retire after nine terms and he decided "this was a good time to go." Ehlers has sought protections for the Great Lakes and funding for math and science education. He was first elected to Congress in a special election in December 1993.