Atlanta (CNN) - After giving it serious consideration, Ted Kennedy Jr. has decided not to run for Massachusetts’ soon-to-be open seat in the U.S. Senate.
"Over the last several days, many people have asked that I consider running for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts," Kennedy said in a statement obtained by CNN. "I am extremely grateful for all the offers of support that I have received.
"As a healthcare lawyer and disability rights activist who was raised to believe in public service, I have always had an interest in public policy development, advocacy and political action. Although I have a strong desire to serve in public office, I consider Connecticut to be my home, and hope to have the honor to serve at another point in my future."
Kennedy is the son of the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, and had been urged by friends and some Democratic leaders to run for Sen. John Kerry's seat, which is expected to open up next year.
President Barack Obama nominated Kerry on Friday to serve as his next secretary of state, and Kerry is expected to be confirmed easily by the Senate.
Kennedy ultimately decided against running for the seat because the timing wasn't right and it would have required him to move his family from Connecticut to Massachusetts.
"He really wants to run," said a family friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "He just thinks this isn't the way to do it. Uprooting his family right now doesn't make sense."
Kennedy lives in Connecticut, but owns a home on Cape Cod. His decision opens up the field for several Democrats who are considering running in the special election should Kerry be confirmed as the next secretary of state. Democrats, nationally and in the Bay State, would have rallied around Kennedy's candidacy in terms of financial and campaign support.
Democrats said to be looking at Kerry's seat include Reps. Michael Capuano and Ed Markey, among others. U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, who lost re-election in November, would be the frontrunner for the Republican nomination if he chose to run again.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will likely name a temporary place holder to fill Kerry's seat until the special election to fill the remainder of Kerry's term is held. By state law, a special general election is required to take place 145 to 160 days after a vacancy occurs, with primary elections being held six weeks earlier. Whoever wins the special election would serve the final year and a half of Kerry's term, and would then be able to run again for a full six-year term in office in the 2014 midterm elections.