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Sandoval says he won’t run for Rick Perry’s VP


Jae C. Hong / AP

Republican presidential candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry answer a question during a Republican presidential candidate debate at the Reagan Library Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011, in Simi Valley, Calif.

Click to enlarge photo

Brian Sandoval

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said he won't run for vice president on a GOP 2012 ticket, squelching speculation that the Hispanic Republican's recent endorsement of Texas Gov. Rick Perry was a play for the White House.

Sandoval told The Associated Press that he would not accept an offer to join a national campaign because he wants to finish his first term. Sandoval was elected in November.

"I am extremely honored that my name has come up but I love the job I have and I intend to keep it," he said.

Asked whether Perry could persuade him to change his mind, Sandoval buckled down.

"I would not," he said. "I am absolutely committed to serving out my term."

Sandoval's endorsement of Perry Tuesday made national news and fueled speculation that Sandoval was hoping to make a move to Washington. Sandoval is Nevada's first Hispanic governor and his conservative values, telegenic looks and perceived appeal among Latino voters landed him on an unofficial short-list of potential vice presidential candidates after he won office last year.

Sandoval said Perry is the best candidate to heal the nation's wounded economy. Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 12.9 percent.

"He's shown a shining example of what he can accomplish as the governor of Texas," Sandoval said.

Perry was a mentor during Nevada's gubernatorial contest and remains a good friend, Sandoval said. He planned to endorse Perry sooner, but a mass shooting in the state's capital of Carson City on Sept. 6 prompted him to delay the announcement.

Sandoval's endorsement could give Perry a significant advantage in Nevada's presidential contest. Nevada's caucuses are held shortly after contests in Iowa and New Hampshire and Sandoval's support is seen as key to winning that contest.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won Nevada's caucuses in 2008 and has the most robust operation on the ground of any GOP hopeful this year.

Romney has been endorsed by many Nevada lawmakers, including Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki.

Sandoval said Romney is a "great candidate" and promised not to badmouth him while campaigning for Perry.

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