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Governor won't seek re-election

 


HELENA - Gov. Judy Martz, saying she has done what she promised to do and that she wants to spend more time with her family, said today she will not seek a second term.

At a news conference in her Capitol office, the Republican ticked off a list of achievements dealing with economic development, health care and tax changes and then concluded, ''I have accomplished what I set out to do. I have enacted my vision.''

The surprise announcement is expected to entice Lt. Gov. Karl Ohs into the GOP primary race already crowded with three candidates.

Ohs, who attended the news conference and was unaware of Martz's decision until then, said he will disclose his plans soon. He said last week he would run if Martz does not.

Martz, 60, has been mulling a possible candidacy for months. She said she did not make her decision until Monday night when returning to Helena from her home in Butte, where her husband, Harry, continues to live.

She said she tired of returning to the empty governor's residence.

''When I am on the job, it is the greatest job in the world,'' she said to a room crammed with Cabinet members, aides and reporters. ''But when you go home at night and it's a quiet house, and no one's there, there's a tugging at your heart that you will never understand.''

Martz said problems she has faced during the first half of her term were not a factor in her decision against running.

She said recent polls showing only about 20 percent of Montanans approve of the job she has done as Montana's first woman governor also were not a factor.

She said her family promised to support her in whatever decision she made, but she concluded it was time to devote more attention to her husband and children. Yet, the decision wasn't easy, Martz said.

''My head wants to run, my body wants to run, but my heart says, 'Go be with your family after being away this long,''' she said. ''It's about reconnecting with my family.''

Martz said she's not sure what she will do, but vowed to remain active in public policy and government.

''I will be working on behalf of the people of Montana for a long, long time,'' she said. ''I am young, I am willing and I am willing to do new things.''

 

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