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Folsom not running for governor

Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom Jr. says he will seek re-election next year.

Folsom said Wednesday he has received a good deal of encouragement to make a Democratic campaign for governor, but he has decided to seek re-election instead.

Folsom said he’s optimistic about what can be accomplished in the state Senate and wants to continue his role as the Senate’s presiding officer.

Folsom’s name has risen often when the subject turned to possible Democratic candidates for governor. Agriculture Commission Ron Sparks also is a potential candidate for the office. Sparks already has a Web site, but has yet to declare an office on that Web site for the 2010 race.

Sparks has scheduled a series of new conferences across the state on Friday to announce which office he will seek next year. He is serving his second term as agriculture commissioner and can’t run again. He has been considering either governor or lieutenant governor.

Sparks said Wednesday he plans new conferences in Montgomery, Birmingham, Huntsvill and his hometown of Fort Payne.

Some supporters have circulated material on the Internet saying he will run for lieutenant governor, but Sparks would only say Wednesday that he will seek a statewide office in 2010.