Louisiana GOP Sen. John Kennedy will not run for governor of his home state next year, opting to stay in a chamber where he’s become known for dishing out quotable comments and lingering in front of TV cameras.

The conservative Republican said in a statement on Monday that it dawned on him during a trip to China last month that he’s more effective in the Senate. He said that mission, where he lobbied against the exports of synthetic drugs, as well as support from each nation’s president “sure made me feel like our trip to Beijing was worthwhile.”

“I love being in the United States Senate. I will not be a candidate for governor in 2019,” Kennedy said. The Senate is “where I think I can do the most good.”

“I hope someone runs for governor who understands that Louisiana state government does not have to be a big, slow, dumb, wasteful, sometimes corrupt, spend-money-like-it-was-ditchwater, anti-taxpayer, top-down institution.”

Kennedy has toggled between dishing out his folksy quotes to reporters and attacking Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards for mismanaging the state in recent weeks. He said in an interview last week that if he ran, he would win because “Gov. Edwards has taken my state in the wrong direction.”

Edwards returned the criticism after Kennedy’s announcement, saying “For Sen. Kennedy, this was never about the people of Louisiana. This was about focusing the spotlight on himself.”

Still, many Republicans thought Kennedy would opt for the gubernatorial run given that he had touted polls showing that he would win. Kennedy said last week he was “really torn” as he agonized over the decision.

But as Kennedy deliberated, Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-La.) signaled interest, raising the prospect of a tough competition between the two GOP lawmakers. Now Abraham may be in the driver’s seat to make the top-two runoff with Bel Edwards next year.