Israel was considered a viable threat to Gillibrand’s bid to win election next year after being appointed to the position by Gov. David Paterson in January. Israel, who was seeking Paterson’s nod for the seat as well, has been touring the state to drum up interest in his candidacy.
But he said he spoke with President Obama today, who asked him not to run for the seat.
Here’s the statement:
“I spoke with President Obama today. He asked me that I not run for the U.S. Senate this year. The President asked me to continue my leadership in Congress, working closely with him to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create new jobs through an intensified focus on renewable energy and green technology.
“This is a tough, heartfelt decision for me. I have received encouragement to pursue this fight from all corners of our great state. But in the interest of providing New York and our country with a united front for progressive change, I have decided to continue my efforts in Congress and not pursue a campaign for the U.S. Senate. I want to thank Senator Schumer for his friendship and guidance during this process, and I am especially grateful for the support of my friends and family. I’ll never stop fighting for Long Island and all of New York.”