Christopher Kennedy's Merchandise Mart public relations department issued copies of a letter Kennedy emailed to political supporters:"I've decided not to run...I realize that I would rather be a good husband and a good father than a good Washington politician."
Since his name surfaced as a possible candidate for US Senate or governor several months ago, Kennedy never went beyond the consideration stage.
"I'm thinking about it," Kennedy said in April. "You know, at this point, it's a very personal decision and I'm trying to work through that with my family."
Kennedy is the youngest son of Robert Kennedy, the former US senator and presidential candidate assassinated in 1968. He is the nephew of assassinated president John Kennedy and the current ailing Massachusetts senator, Edward "Teddy" Kennedy.
The Merchandise Mart president was in Hyannisport last week attending the funeral of his aunt Eunice Kennedy.
Christopher wrote of the difficult decision: "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 want to carry on his legacy."
Christopher Kennedy joins appointed incumbent Roland Burris, US Congress members Jan Schakowsky, Danny Davis, Jesse Jackson Junior and Luis Guitterez in bowing out of the Illinois US Senate Democratic primary.
Only state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson remain. Giannoulias would not comment. But Jackson said she looked forward to a one-on-one contest with Giannoulias, who she described as a member of the privileged class.
"There's nothing wrong with being privileged, it's just not most people's experience," said Jackson. "I'm like most people, I'm not privileged, and I know what it means not to be privileged."
Jackson says she spent hours on the phone Tuesday at her headquarters trying to raise money for the campaign. Giannoulias reportedly is way ahead in fundraising.
Jackson has not formally announced her candidacy. She says that will take place in early September.