ST. PETERSBURG, Fla (Reuters) - Representative Connie Mack announced on Friday that he will not challenge Senator Bill Nelson for the Florida seat once held by Mack's father, a surprise decision from the Republican.
Mack, elected to Congress in 2004, has been a persistent critic of the Democratic senator and was widely seen as primed to jump into the 2012 race.
But he said he did not want to subject his family -- including wife Mary Bono Mack, a Republican congresswoman from California, and his two young children -- to the rigors of a Senate campaign.
Mack announced his plan not to run from the same courthouse steps in his hometown Fort Myers where his father had declared his own Senate candidacy.
The elder Connie Mack retired in 2001 after 12 years in the Senate, opening up the seat won by Nelson.
(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Greg McCune)