Kevin Martin, a Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission
with close ties to the Bush White House, has no plans to return to North
Carolina to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democratic incumbent
Martin -- whose wife, Catherine, is a top communications aide to Vice
President Richard Cheney -- told a reporter Wednesday that he wasn't going to
run and hadn't even considered entering the race. Earlier this week, Edwards
announced that he would not seek re-election in order to concentrate on his run
for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.
Martin, a 36-year-old lawyer born and reared in North Carolina, was a Bush
campaign lawyer and served in the White House briefly before joining the FCC in
2001. One of Martin's advisers, Emily Willeford, recently resigned her FCC job
to work for Bush political consultant Karl Rove in the White House.
Rep. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) is considered a front-runner for the GOP
nomination for the Senate seat. Burr, a member the Energy and Commerce
Committee, is sponsoring a bill that would roll back some media-deregulation
policies Martin helped the FCC to approve in early June.