Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, who had been mentioned as a possible candidate for everything from governor to U.S. Congress announced Tuesday that he would not be seeking higher office.

“While I am grateful for the support and encouragement I have received over the past several months, I believe this decision, at this time, is best for me and my three young children,” McKinney said in an emailed statement Tuesday.

This summer McKinney had been talked about as a possible Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Jim Himes. McKinney’s father, Stewart B. McKinney, once held that seat and it was believed McKinney would follow in his father’s footsteps.

However, McKinney announced in July that he would not be running for Congress. A few weeks later he filed for divorce against his wife.

“Our state faces extraordinary challenges – challenges I want to meet. That is why I will continue my commitment to the people of the 28th State Senate District, as well as my position as Senate Minority Leader; and I will seek reelection to the State Senate this year,” McKinney said.

“Please know that I am committed to building on my record as an effective State Senator, and I will continue to advocate for the fundamental restructuring of state government I believe is necessary to lead us out of this fiscal crisis and protect Connecticut’s long-term economic security,” McKinney said in his statement before thanking his supporters. “I know I am making the right decision by choosing a course that will allow me to serve the public in the State Senate, while being the father I want to be to Matthew, Graysen and Kate.”

Greenwich businessman Tom Foley, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, seemed to be breathing a sigh of relief at McKinney’s announcement. Foley’s campaign sent out the following statement:  “John McKinney is a gifted and experienced public servant who would have been a strong candidate for Governor. But I am glad that he has decided to run for re-election to the State Senate where Connecticut needs his leadership. I look forward to working with him this year to elect more Republicans to the General Assembly.”

Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, the other candidate running for governor, also sent out the following statement:

“Senator McKinney has done a great job as Senate Republican Leader and he continues to be an effective and reasoned voice in the ongoing legislative debate over taxes and state spending.  He knows that Connecticut cannot continue to protect an unaffordable status quo as the Democrat majority has done for over a year.  He knows that now more than ever, we must demand that government be accountable and fiscally responsible.  Senator McKinney has been, and will continue to be, on the right side of these issues and he will continue to serve our state and its taxpayers very well.  I consider Senator McKinney a valuable partner and ally as we work together to lead Connecticut to economic recovery.”