[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/02/art.romney.jpg caption="Mitt Romney ran against Kennedy for Senate in 1994."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Responding to speculation that Mitt Romney might be looking at Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, a Romney spokesman said Thursday the former Massachusetts governor isn't interested.
"Governor Romney's focus right now is on helping other Republicans run for office, and that is how he will be spending his time," Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom said in an e-mail to CNN.
Romney mounted a challenge to Kennedy in 1994 but lost by 17 points. The former GOP presidential candidate referred to the race in a statement he released on Wednesday after Kennedy died.
"In 1994, I joined the long list of those who ran against Ted and came up short," Romney said. "But he was the kind of man you could like even if he was your adversary. I came to admire Ted enormously for his charm and sense of humor - qualities all the more impressive in a man who had known so much loss and sorrow."
Romney is widely believed to have his eyes set on a bigger prize than a U.S. Senate seat, and is considered likely to seek the presidency again in 2012. Another statewide run might also pose a tougher challenge for Romney than he faced when he last won office as a pro-choice candidate, in a state Barack Obama won by 25 points last November.