PROVIDENCE -- Former attorney general Sheldon Whitehouse said he will leave his job at a law firm next month to consider a run for governor or Senate in 2006.
Whitehouse, who in 2002 ran to be the Democratic nominee for governor but failed, has not made a formal announcement that he will seek public office again.
"But I certainly want the opportunity to do the necessary groundwork to make that decision," he told The Providence Journal.
Whitehouse, 49, said he was not asked to leave the law firm of Edwards & Angell. Rather, he said he wanted to avoid putting the firm in an awkward position if he ran for elective office. He plans to leave Jan. 15.
The former US attorney has recently talked about running in 2006 for governor or for the Senate seat held by Lincoln Chafee, a Republican.
He said that after he leaves Edwards & Angell, he will continue to be a lawyer, though he is not disclosing with which firm.
"I'm 95 percent confident I have my new location pinned down," he said. "I will have space in a firm as opposed to being a member of the firm, so no one can blame the firm for my political activity."
He said Edwards & Angell has been good to him, "and I don't want them to have to cope with any adverse consequences of a heightened political profile on my part," he said.
Whitehouse said he knew of no "specific threat of consequences" for the firm if he ran.
Whitehouse joined Edwards & Angell nearly two years ago and works in the litigation department.
He graduated from Yale University and the University of Virginia Law School.
He once served as legal counsel and policy director to former governor Bruce Sundlun, a Democrat.
He was also the director of the state Department of Business Regulation.