updated 7/14/2008 10:55:56 PM ET 2008-07-15T02:55:56

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura halted his political comeback before it began Monday, using a national TV platform to announce that he won't launch a third-party bid for the U.S. Senate "at this moment."

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But Ventura kept the door open for a possible bid, saying things could change before the 5 p.m. Tuesday filing deadline.

In an appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live," the former pro wrestler squelched speculation about his possible effect on an already hard-fought race between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken, the former "Saturday Night Live" personality.

"This was an agonizing decision for me," Ventura said. But he said his family fears they will be attacked in the media again if he runs, "because nothing is off-limits today in the world of politics."

For the past week, Minnesota's political class had waited to see if Ventura would really get back into the race -- or if he was just enjoying a new chance to bask in the spotlight almost six years after he left the governor's office after a single term.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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