WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., announced Thursday he will not run for a ninth term in November.
Kennedy's office released a television commercial to air Sunday night that explains his decision to his constituents, The Providence Journal reported.
The 42-year-old congressman is the son of Sen. Edward Kennedy, who died last year. His decision to step down means there will be no member of his family holding elective office for the first time since John F. Kennedy entered Congress on Jan. 3, 1947, almost two decades before Patrick was born.
"We all know how difficult the last few years have been," Kennedy says in his commercial. "Rhode Island families have struggled."
He also talks of his personal difficulties: "Illness took the life of my most cherished mentor and confidant, my ultimate source of spirit and strength."
Sean Richardson, Kennedy's former chief of staff, said the congressman had been talking about retiring for some time and did not make his decision because of recent low poll numbers or the upset victory in January of Republican Scott Brown to his father's U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts.