ABC News’s Bret Hovell Reports: John McCain said Wednesday that he plans to retain his seat in the Senate while running for president, but also said he will think about whether or not it makes more sense to resign.
McCain was asked whether he would resign this summer, and give his replacement the opportunity to run with McCain at the top of the ticket, rather than wait and resign only if he wins.
"No, I will not," McCain told the crowd at a town hall style meeting in Westport, Connecticut. "I have every confidence that there are a number of Republicans who would be elected in my place. So I do not envision a scenario of resigning my seat."
But McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee and senior senator from Arizona, seemed to consider the pitch as he was speaking.
"I will go back and think about it, and think about the scenario that you just described," he continued. "But right now my intentions are to remain in the United States Senate."
Arizona election law requires that the governor of the state – in Arizona’s case, a Democrat – to appoint someone from the same party as the departing Senator. That person would serve until the next election in 2010.
In the summer of 1996, then-Republican Senate majority leader Bob Dole resigned during his run for the White House. He was defeated by President Clinton.
McCain was also able to earn a laugh on the topic.
"There’s people regularly who ask me to resign," he said jokingly, "but that has nothing to do with my presidential ambitions."