(Bloomberg) -- Representative Mike Gallagher, a Wisconsin Republican who had been considered the strongest candidate to defeat the state’s Democratic senator, Tammy Baldwin, in 2024, said Friday he would not enter the race. 

Gallagher, in a statement posted on Twitter, wrote that he preferred to concentrate his energies on the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, of which he is chairman, and the voters in his district.

“I have a rare, bipartisan opportunity in the 118th Congress to help restore American strength, prevent war in the Pacific and defend basic freedoms from communist aggression,” he said. “Accomplishing this mission and serving Wisconsin’s 8th District deserve my undivided attention.”

He will seek reelection next year. 

Gallagher, a Princeton graduate and former Marine who was first elected in 2016, was named the chairman of the China committee last year and has worked to make the panel a bipartisan endeavor, confronting what he has described as the “foremost threat in the world today.”

His decision will likely come as a relief to Democrats, who must defend 23 Senate seats in the 2024 elections, as opposed to 11 seats for Republicans.  

Baldwin’s campaign declined to comment Friday evening.

--With assistance from Daniel Flatley.

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