HELENA, Mont.  — Popular former Gov. Brian Schweitzer says he will not run for Montana’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2014.

The Democrat told The Associated Press on Saturday he doesn’t want to leave Montana and go to Washington, D.C.

Schweitzer says he felt compelled to consider the race because many in his party said they needed him to run.

He was considered the best chance Democrats have to hold onto the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Max Baucus next year.

Schweitzer says recent criticism over politically active nonprofits connected to him had no bearing on the decision.

The governor was recently elected board chairman of Stillwater Mining Co., Montana’s largest publicly trading company, and says he is enjoying his life.

Republicans are hopeful that freshman U.S. Rep. Steve Daines will run.