Chris Kennedy Decides Against Senate Run

By BJ Lutz and Mary Ann Ahern
|  Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009  |  Updated 1:43 PM CDT
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Chris Kennedy Decides Not to Run For Office. Again.

Chris Kennedy

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Merchandise Mart magnate Chris Kennedy has decided not to run for the United States Senate seat now occupied by Roland Burris.

An aide confirmed Kennedy would also not be running for Governor, says the Trib.

In an e-mail sent today, Kennedy, the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, said he “decided not to run” for the Senate. “

"In the end, I did not want to have to leave the state in order to serve it," he wrote. "They say love conquers all, and in my case, it conquered ambition.  I realize that I would rather be a good husband and a good father than a good Washington politician."

Kennedy has flirted with and abandoned the idea of launching a political campaign in the past, considering runs for Congress, Senate and Governor.

The decision comes three days after his aunt Eunice Shriver's funeral.

Kennedy acknowledged that his consideration was due in part to the work of his uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy, who is suffering from brain cancer.

“I have been increasingly aware of the enormous contributions that my Uncle Teddy has made because of his service in the United States Senate," Kennedy wrote. "I think the more we learn of his story, the more we want to carry on his legacy.”

The move leaves Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannouias and Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson as the only confirmed Democratic candidates for the seat.

Burris announced in July that he would not run for a full term.

On the Republican side, there's North Shore Congressman Mark Kirk, retired Judge Don Lowery; entrepreneur Eric Wallace; and former Harvey Alderman John Arrington.

Kennedy is the eighth child of Robert F. Kennedy and is president of the Merchandise Mart.

The full text of Kennedy's note:

I wanted to thank you for the encouragement you gave me over the last few months as I’ve wrestled with the idea of running for Senate.

Your thoughtfulness and support in all of this will long be remembered by both Sheila and me.

I’ve decided not to run.  The decision wasn’t easy to arrive at, and it certainly took me long enough, but I wanted to consult with my family and each and every one of our family members had something…well, quite a lot…to say on this matter.  Just speaking to them can take months.

I may be a transplant to Chicago, but I have lived here for half my life, and they say there is no belief as strong as that of a convert’s, and I am a believer in Illinois.  In the end, I did not want to have to leave the state in order to serve it.  They say love conquers all, and in my case, it conquered ambition.  I realize that I would rather be a good husband and a good father than a good Washington politician.

When I first came to Chicago, my Uncle Sarge Shriver told me running The Mart was one of the best jobs in the whole world.  He was right, and I love it at MMPI.  It’s great to be part of what is considered the world’s best team.

The decision has not come easily.  Over the last few months, I have been increasingly aware of the enormous contributions that my Uncle Teddy has made because of his service in the United States Senate.  I think the more we learn of his story, the more we want to carry on his legacy.

Over the same period, though, I have also given great consideration to other examples in my family, including that of my Aunt Eunice, who was able to accomplish enormous goals, affecting millions of people without going into politics.

In either case, the examples of service to others is compelling, and I hope to continue to find ways to use the gifts I have been given to serve the country that has been so good to me.

Thanks again for your encouragement.

Chris

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