Although Barbour’s statement thanked his family for “their total support of my going forward, had that been what I decided,” intimates said his wife of four decades, Marsha, was passionately against his making the race.

“Marsha didn’t mind the other deal,” said a longtime friend, referring to Barbour’s two successful campaigns for governor, “but she couldn’t do this.” One of Barbour’s two sons, Sterling, had already gone on record saying he didn’t want his father to run, but if he did, he’d support him.

“Marsha absolutely didn’t want him to do it,” said another friend, who, like the first, asked not to be identified. “I don’t know if that would seal the deal. Usually for something as big as this, you can convince your family and your wife to go along. At the end of the day, your wife would say, ‘I know how important this is to you.’”