By Darryl R. Isherwood | February 15th, 2013 - 4:36pm
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Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy formally ruled out a 2014 run for office today, less than two hours after high-level Democrats said they planned to court the former lawmaker from Rhode Island  for a U.S. Senate run.

"I can rule out a 2014 run," said Kennedy when reached by phone Friday. 

Kennedy, who lives in Brigantine, said his attention now is focused on two things, the implementation of the mental health parity bill he introduced and helped pass while a member of Congress and the Special Olympics, which he described as the Kennedy family's greatest legacy.

"I'm not in it right now but as I said if in the future sometime I think I could better serve this cause by throwing my hat back in the political ring down the road I know how to run elections and I know how to win elections," he said.

Kennedy said while he won't run in the race he does plan to participate, particularly if U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone is a candidate.  Kennedy said he would endorse Pallone and campaign on his behalf.

"Frank Pallone is not only a good friend, he was a great colleague and he fights for the kinds of things my family has fought for," Kennedy said.  "I look forward to going out there and telling that story and letting people know how hard Frank has fought for issues that matter to people with a social conscience."

Earlier today, sources said high-level state Democrats were preparing to reach out to Kennedy in hopes of convincing him to jump into the Senate race that will no doubt include Newark Mayor Cory Booker and potentially several other candidates.

"If a Kennedy is interested in running for office in New Jersey, it would be crazy not to reach out to him and see where it goes," said a Democratic source familiar with the plans.

Kennedy, who spent eight terms in the House of Representatives representing Rhode Island, said politics are in his blood and he got a world-class education growing up in the Kennedy family so he has not ruled out a future political run, but it won't be in 2014.

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 22nd

Winners and Losers: Week of September 15th WINNERS Chris Christie NBC News reported Thursday evening that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has determined after a nine-month investigation that there is 'no evidence" so far that the governor had advance knowledge about any politically motivated scheme around the bridge lane closures...

Op-Ed

Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >

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Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"In many ways, Fulop has embraced McGreevey’s granular-level approach to retail politics, racing around the state to raise money for congressional candidates in South Jersey one night, showing up at a Morris County Democratic Party function the next. His administration has also awarded legal work to Weiner Lesniak, the Parsippany-based firm run by state Sen. Ray Lesniak, the Union County Democratic Party power broker." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record

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