Venable won't seek congressional seat this year

Hank Hayes • Mar 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Richard Venable, who came in a close second during the 2006 1st Congressional District GOP Primary, announced Saturday that he won’t run for Congress this year.

Venable, CEO of Sullivan County’s NETWORKS economic development group and former Sullivan County mayor, had been approached to run both as an independent and as a Republican.

“The demands of NETWORKS to grow jobs in Sullivan County are truly challenging and deeply rewarding, and I fully intend to meet the terms of my contact,” Venable said in an e-mail. “This is important work, and the new businesses we recruit or existing businesses that we help to expand provide a far more immediate value to the citizens of Sullivan County than any work I might do as a candidate for Congress at this time.”

Two years ago, Venable lost to U.S. Rep. David Davis in the GOP Primary by about 500 votes. A Democrat hasn’t won the 1st Congressional District seat in more than 100 years.

Davis will face Johnson City Mayor Phil Roe in the GOP primary this August.

When contacted, Venable said he isn’t sure if he will endorse either candidate.

“I’m in a sensitive position,” he said. “I’d have to see how my (NETWORKS) board felt about that. ... I have a personal preference.”

Venable also left the door open to a future run for public office.

“Once my commitment at NETWORKS is complete, I will only say that I will honor the age-old maxim of politics ... Never say never. Thank you,” he said.

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