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Rep. Chris Gibson won't run for NY governor in 2018

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Chris Gibson

In this Friday, Jan. 29, 2016 photo, Rep. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., talks to a constituent in his district office in Kinderhook, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Less than three months after launching an exploratory committee for a potential gubernatorial campaign in 2018, U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson said Monday he won't run governor. 

Gibson, R-Kinderhook, said he'll finish his third term in the House of Representatives — he already announced he won't seek re-election this year — and will begin working as a visiting lecturer on leadership at Williams College in February 2017. 

He also wants to spend more time with his wife, Mary Jo, and their three children. 

"Therefore, I will not be running for governor in 2018," Gibson said in a statement. "At the conclusion of my term in the U.S. House of Representatives, I will be leaving politics and starting this new direction with my family. In the near-term, I will be closing my exploratory committee. For our donors to that committee, we'll be refunding contributions we've received."

Gibson traveled across the state in preparation for a gubernatorial campaign. He said Monday he visited 48 of New York's 62 counties. 

Last year, he attended the Onondaga County Republican Committee's annual clambake fundraiser. 

"I appreciate greatly the warm welcomes and support I have received, and the time so many have dedicated to our mission to change the state," he said. "For that I can only say thank you." 

Ed Cox, chairman of the state Republican Committee, said Gibson "is the true definition of what it means to be a public servant."

"Chris leaves New York and the nation better for his service, and we are grateful for the time he dedicated to the people of our great state," Cox said. "We wish Chris, Mary Jo and their family well." 

Before entering politics, Gibson served in the U.S. Army for 29 years. He earned numerous awards during his career and was deployed to Iraq and Kosovo. He also had a stint as a professor at West Point. 

Gibson retired from the Army and ran for Congress in 2010. He defeated U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy by 10 points in the 20th Congressional District race. 

In 2012, Gibson ran for re-election in the redrawn 19th Congressional District. He won that race, and won re-election again in 2014. 

At the beginning of his third term, Gibson announced he wouldn't run for re-election in 2016

By bowing out of the 2018 gubernatorial race, Gibson leaves Republicans with a smaller pool of candidates. Potential challengers include Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who challenged Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014, and Carl Paladino, a Buffalo businessman who ran for governor in 2010. 

Astorino lauded Gibson and said he considers the congressman a friend. 

"While he is leaving the political arena, I hope that he will continue to be a voice for New Yorkers who are suffering in a stagnant economy and a state government under a massive cloud of corruption," Astorino said. 

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