"There was a lot of support, and support from interesting places," Bush said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, "but this would have been a big detour in my life."
Bush told the newspaper he wants to apply his energy to the real estate business and his family. He said he also would help rebuild the Republican Party but cautioned against unfair partisan attacks against Democratic President-elect Barack Obama, whom he called a "very impressive guy" he was "proud to call my president."
Bush did not speculate about the possibility of a presidential run, something his father, former President George H.W. Bush, broached just two days earlier in a national television interview.
Republican Party officials had been excited at the prospect of Bush, brother U.S. President George W. Bush, running for the seat to be vacated in 2010 by GOP Sen. Mel Martinez, the St. Petersburg Times reported.