U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (Va.) said Monday that he would not run against former Gov. Tim Kaine in a Democratic primary for U.S. Senate next year.

Instead, Scott endorsed Kaine at the congressman’s annual Labor Day Picnic in Hampton Roads.

“Though I believe I can win the Democratic nomination and the general election, a winning campaign would require me to devote all of my time for the next 14 months to that campaign,’’ Scott said in a statement. “This would mean that my work on issues critical to Virginians and other Americans would have to be postponed.”

Scott, who is the state’s only black congressman and who represents both Richmond and Hampton Roads, had put off making the decision, but most political observers did not think he would run. He will run for re-election, though he said he had not ruled out running for higher office in the future.

“The question I had to address was whether I could more effectively confront those issues after the campaign as a member of the Senate or continue to work on them as a member of the House,’’ Scott said. “I have decided to continue to address these vital issues as a member of the House without the distraction of a statewide campaign. The decision to compete in this race coincides with a particularly critical moment in time for this nation and I feel this is the best way I can be of service to my constituents at this time.”

Scott said he was making the announcement even though the General Assembly had not completed congressional redistricting. He said he had made a commitment to the sponsors of the Senate plan that he would run for re-election if their plan was adopted. But redistricting will likely not be completed until November or later.

Kaine faces political newcomer Courtney Lynch for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jim Webb (D).