updated 1/25/2005 10:11:26 AM ET 2005-01-25T15:11:26

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer and son of slain New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, said he will not run for state attorney general, a move that takes him out of a race that could have pitted him against his estranged brother-in-law, Andrew Cuomo.

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Kennedy, 51, told The New York Times in Tuesday editions that running for the office now held Eliot Spitzer by would have forced him to sacrifice significant time with his wife and children.

“I talked about it a lot with my wife, with my kids, my uncle and my brothers and sisters,” he said. “It’s funny, all the family members who had not been in political office urged me to run and the ones who had served in office urged me not to.”

He told the newspaper that his decision had nothing to do with the possibility of running against Cuomo, housing secretary under President Clinton.

Kennedy is chief attorney for the environmental group Riverkeeper and has been a leading state environmental activist for more than two decades.

He has also been active in New York politics and briefly considered running for the Senate seat won by Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2000. At that time, as well, he said that family commitments kept him from making the bid.

Widely urged to run by political figures and others, Kennedy did say he would seek elected office at some point in the future.

“The kinds of hours I would put into this job would mean that I would never see my kids,” he said. “But I feel certain that I will run for office once day.”

However, he prefaced that desire with concern for his six children.

“But I think I need to wait a few years until my younger children get a little older.”

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