The list of of potential rivals to Rep. Edward Markey for the Democratic nomination in Massachusetts' looming Senate special election continues to dwindle: Rep. Michael Capuano announced Tuesday that he won't run for the seat.
"After careful consideration, I have decided not to enter the race for US Senate," Capuano said in a statement. "Instead, I look forward to focusing on the important issues facing the new Congress. My current work in the House and whatever opportunities the future may hold, afford me the greatest honor of my life, fighting for the Citizens of the Commonwealth."
Hoping to avoid a nasty primary, national Democrats have tried to clear the Democratic field for Markey in the race to replace Sen. John Kerry, who will leave the upper chamber once he's confirmed as President Obama's new Secretary of State. Capuano is the second potential rival to take himself out of the running this week: state Sen. Ben Downing announced Friday that he wouldn't run.
Capuano's decision leaves Rep. Stephen Lynch as likely the only remaining roadblock to a clear primary contest for Markey. Lynch has said he's giving "serious consideration" to joining the race, and the South Boston congressman began laying the groundwork for a potential run last month.
Capuano ran in the special election to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy in 2009, but he finished second to Attorney General Martha Coakley in the Democratic primary. Coakley went on to lose in a stunning upset to then-state Sen. Scott Brown.
Brown, a Republican, lost his reelection bid to Sen. Elizabeth Warren last year. While there has been some speculation he might opt to run for governor in 2014 instead, Brown is widely expected to announce his intention to run in the special election once Kerry is confirmed.