Billy Wilkins, a Greenville attorney and former chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, said he won’t run for governor in 2018.
Wilkins, 74, told the Greenville Journal in August he was seriously considering a Republican bid, but had not made a final decision.
In a statement, Wilkins said he plans to continue working in the private sector.
“Shortly after Labor Day, friends from around the state began to call urging me to run for governor even though the race is not until 2018,” Wilkins said. “I have served in public office for over 33 years – as Solicitor, as a federal judge, and as chair of a federal agency. Since retiring from public office, I have been practicing law for the past eight years and have decided to continue working in the private sector.
“I plan to continue to be active in the political life of South Carolina, but not as a candidate for public office.”
Filing for the governor’s race won’t begin until 2018. If he had run, Wilkins would have joined what likely will be a crowded field to succeed Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican.
Wilkins had said he was weighing how much money and what kind of organization would be needed for a lengthy political campaign.
Wilkins returned to private practice in Greenville in 2008 after retiring from the appellate court.
He also is former chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
At Nexsen Pruet, Wilkins leads the law firm’s white-collar criminal defense, appellate advocacy, and corporate compliance/crisis management practices and serves clients through his work in the firm’s business litigation group.
A Greenville native, Wilkins is a former Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Solicitor, a post now held by his son, Walt Wilkins.
The elder Wilkins is widely credited with playing a pivotal role in negotiating the deal that brought the Boeing facility to North Charleston.