Ellen R. Sauerbrey decided Thursday she didn't want to do it, and yesterday morning Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. came to the same decision. Neither will run against Janice Piccinini in the state's 10th District Senate race.
So the job has fallen back on Richard M. Cornwell, the northern Baltimore County farmer who won the Republican primary for the chance to compete for the seat in the first place.
"By George, I'm ready," Mr. Cornwell said last night.
Mr. Cornwell, who said he was surprised by his victory in the primary Sept. 11, had been willing to step aside to give the opportunity to either Ms. Sauerbrey or Mr. Ehrlich, both 10th District members of the House of Delegates, and both thought to have a better chance of winning than Mr. Cornwell.
They decided not to risk those seats in a run against Ms. Piccinini, who ran a strong abortion-rights campaign in her primary victory over incumbent Francis X. Kelly.
Senator Kelly, a three-term legislator known for opposing abortion, received 39 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary to 61 percent won by Ms. Piccinini.
Ms. Sauerbrey is an anti-abortion politician. Mr. Ehrlich described himself last night as a conservative, pro-business Republican, who favors a woman's right to choose whether to have an abortion.
"The money was there, and the polls looked good, but the Senate is not a place I want to be politically," said Mr. Ehrlich last night. "It's not a stepping stone to higher office. Why take the risk for an office you're not that interested in politically?"
Which leaves Mr. Cornwell, who said he personally opposes abortion but has not made up his mind on his stand as a political candidate.
"I haven't put it down in a [public] manner yet that I'm comfortable with," he said.