The outgoing U.S. Senate majority leader, Republican Bill Frist, has decided not to run for the presidency in 2008.
Republican Party officials made the disclosure Wednesday, before a formal announcement expected later in the day.
Frist is a medical doctor from the southeastern state of Tennessee. He has spent the past 12 years in the Senate but did not run for re-election in November. His term ends when the new Democratic-controlled Congress takes over in January.
On Tuesday, the incoming leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, passed over Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings for head of the House Intelligence Committee. Hastings is the second-ranking Democrat on the congressional panel that helps protect America's security. But in 1989, he was impeached on corruption charges and removed from the federal judiciary.
The intelligence committee's top Democrat, Jane Harman of California, has expressed interest in chairing the committee. Texas Congressman Silvestre Reyes is also thought to be a contender.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.