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FITSNews – August 19, 2008 – Just as we predicted over a year ago, former S.C. House Speaker and current U.S. Ambassador to Canada David H. Wilkins (bald dude, above ) will not run for governor of South Carolina in 2010.

Wilkins announced his decision this morning, according to the Greenville News:

“After a lot of prayer, deliberation our with sons and daughters-in-law, we decided not to pursue a run for governor. We anticipate returning to our home in early January and, hopefully, becoming very active in our community and state, as we’ve always been,” he said.

No word yet on whether Wilkins, a Greenville native, will run for his home town’s County Council or not …

Wilkins’ announcement – combined with current House Speaker Bobby Harrell‘s decision not to run – takes another high-profile name out of the Republican contest, and leaves S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster, U.S. Congressman Gresham Barrett, Lt. Gov. André Bauer and House Majority Leader Jimmy Merrill as the top four likely Republican contenders.

Jim Rex, Inez Tenenbaum, Joe Erwin and James Smith are the names most prominently mentioned on the Democratic side, with former GOP gubernatorial candidate Oscar Lovelace likely to run as an independent.