Nobel-winning scientist won't run for Senate

Peter Agre
Nobel Prize-winner and scientist Peter Agre has decided against a run for U.S. Senate in Minnesota in 2008. Agre is a Minnesota native now at Duke University's medical school.
MPR file photo

(AP) - Applying a scientific analysis to his chances of success, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Peter Agre said Wednesday that he won't press ahead with a run for U.S. Senate in Minnesota next year.

Agre, who is a professor and vice chancellor at Duke University, spent the summer consulting with people in his home state about joining the Democratic field of challengers to Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.

He said he encountered encouragement and skepticism, and he ultimately concluded a campaign would carry more personal and professional costs than he was willing to bear.

"As much as I'd like to run, I've decided it's just not the time to step in," Agre said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It's late. I just don't think I can make the race."

His decision further sharpens the contest for the Democratic nomination. The two front-runners are trial attorney Mike Ciresi and comedian Al Franken.

Two others who have declared are environmental activist Jim Cohen and frequent candidate Dick Franson.

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Agre declined to endorse one of the remaining candidates.

Minnesota's Senate race is shaping up as one of a handful of the top 2008 battles for party control. Democrats now hold a 51-49 advantage, but more Republican-held seats are on the ballot next year.

Agre, 58, shared in the Nobel prize in 2003 for research on how key materials enter or leave cells in the body. He said he won't close the door on a future campaign.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)