Joe Hoeffel, who has stood as a candidate for office 17 times, said Wednesday that he had given up on his statewide ambitions. He made the decision after finishing last in the four-man Democratic gubernatorial primary May 18.

"I have no intention or desire to run statewide again," said Hoeffel, who also campaigned on that level for a Senate seat in 2004. "I told my wife, 'I think I got it out of my system.' "

But he has not run his last race. Hoeffel plans to seek reelection to his Montgomery County commissioner's seat in 2011 - and expects to be on the opposite side of the fray from his current power-sharing partner, Republican Commissioners Chairman James R. Matthews.

Hoeffel did not know who his Democratic running mate would be. And when asked how he could campaign against Republican control after he and Matthews have been sharing power since 2008, Hoeffel - usually quick with rejoinders - did not have a ready answer. "We'll just have to see how it plays out," he said. - Derrick Nunnally