Sen. Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William), the Virginia Senate’s longest-serving member, announced Tuesday that he will seek reelection to a 10th term in November.

(By Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post)

But he said Tuesday that he has beaten cancer and got approval from a doctor to run last week. He said he feels good and is now in “excellent health.”

And he said he has been overwhelmed by phone calls from fellow Democrats and supporters encouraging him to run, in part convinced his reelection is key to the party retaining its majority in the Senate.

“I’m going to give it one more shot,” he said. “I talked to my family and a lot of my friends — I’ve gotten literally dozens of phone calls. I walked into McDonald’s and a man said, ‘I’ve been a Republican all my life and you’re my favorite Democrat. Don’t you dare quit.’ ”

He said he was also proud of “doing a lot of good for Northern Virginia,” including securing major state funding for Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University, and thought he could do more for the region with one more term.

It is the third time party leaders have coaxed Colgan into a reelection campaign — in 2003 and 2007 he had indicated that he would step down, before being convinced to run again by Govs. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

Though Colgan’s Prince William seat has been leaning Republican, Democrats think the beloved octogenarian will have a fairly easy time winning reelection.

If he had retired, however, the area would have been vulnerable for a GOP pick-up.

A veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corps and the Air Force, Colgan founded regional air carrier Colgan Air. He no longer owns the airline.