WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has decided not to run for the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., a department spokesman said.
Homeland Security Department spokesman Sean Smith said Napolitano, a former Arizona governor, told senior Democratic officials she intended to pass so she could continue "protecting the American people from terrorism and other threats to our country," The Hill reported Friday.
"She cares deeply about Arizona but the secretary intends to continue doing the job that (President Obama) asked her to do -- protecting the American people from terrorism and other threats to our country," Smith said in a statement. "She's focused on continuing to strengthen our counter-terrorism initiatives, border security, immigration enforcement, transportation and cybersecurity and disaster preparedness."
Republicans are jumping into the race to succeed Kyl, who announced last week he wouldn't seek re-election. U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., announced last week he would run and is the early GOP favorite. He has endorsements from the Republican Party's Club for Growth and the Tea Party group FreedomWorks.