Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) announced today that he will not run for the U.S. Senate. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

“I’ve got two small children and it’s hard enough to get to spend a lot of good quality time now. I have a wife. They are all very important to me and at the end of the day family has to be number one,’’ Mack told the St. Petersburg Times.

Mack, the telegenic son of a former Florida senator of the same name, has long been rumored to be a potential candidate for the upper chamber. Early polls suggested he would be the frontrunner.

Even after it was reported Thursday that he would enter the race, though, many remained skeptical that he would take the plunge.

The Republican field to face Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) looks like it will be quite crowded. State Senate President Mike Haridopolos is raising big money, while former Sen. George LeMieux and former state Rep. Adam Hasner are likely to join him in the race.

Mack, 43, has been a relatively low-profile member of Congress since winning his seat in 2004, perhaps being best known for his marriage in 2007 to Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), the widow of singer (and Republican congressman) Sonny Bono.

The marriage between members of Congress from two distant states, though, isn’t politically ideal. With each trying to look committed to their home districts, it becomes harder when your spouse is doing the same thing thousands of miles away.

Bono Mack, in particular, could face a tough race after redistricting.