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FIRST ON 3: Saffo says he has no plans to run for Congress

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo says he does not have plans to run for the Congressional seat open after Rep. Mike McIntyre announced he will retire at the end of his ninth term.

Reached by phone this afternoon Saffo, who has been mayor since 2006, said he was among the many people surprised by McIntyre's decision yesterday. Saffo said he has a job to do in Wilmington and still wants to see some objectives get done.

That's not to say, though, that he hasn't given thought to higher office.

"When you're elected to office, you always have aspirations," Saffo said.

Saffo's name has often been tossed around in recent years for various offices. Asked if his plans could change by the Feb. 10-28 candidate filing period for this year's elections, Saffo said probably not.

So far New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield is the only Democrat who has said he will run for the 7th Congressional District seat.

Former state senator David Rouzer, who narrowly lost to McIntyre in 2012, and New Hanover County Commission Chair Woody White say they will face off in May's Republican primary.

McIntyre said yesterday he announced his decision now to step down so that other candidates have time to decide whether to run.

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