Mississippi's Gov. Haley Barbour has decided against a run for the GOP nomination in 2012.
The Republican announced in a statement on Monday that his decision was a "difficult" and "personal" one and he regrets any disappointment he may cause by leaving the stage.
The governor is a staunch social conservative who has rallied against against abortion and gay marriage. He opposed President Obama's health care plan, saying it would "drive up the cost of health care insurance" and he supported Gov. Walker of Wisconsin as he proposed controversial cuts to the budget that ended collective bargaining rights for unions in the state.
Barbour gained national attention as Mississippi's governor when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. He's been in the governor's seat since 2003 and was re-elected in 2007. Prior to his role as governor, he was the chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1993 to 1997 and also worked as a lawyer and lobbyist.
Gov. Barbour said he will continue serve as Mississippi's governor as well as maintain his chairmanship of the Republican Governors Association. He also added that he will work to help elect a new Republican president in 2012.