U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, nicknamed “Gentleman Joe,” announced today that he won’t primary his Democratic colleague for U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s Senate seat. 

Courtney, the Democrat from the state’s 2nd Congressional District who is currently serving his third-term, was forced by Lieberman’s early retirement decision to speed up his decision about whether to seek the seat. The same seat his Democratic colleague, U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, D-5, wants.

Some in the Democratic party were anxious about pitting two sitting Congressman against one another in a primary for the seat, while others believe primaries make the candidate who emerges stronger.

Courtney said that wasn’t what was weighing on his mind as he made his decision not to run.

“As I have considered a run for the United States Senate over the past few weeks, I have done so with one question in mind: How can I best continue serving the people of eastern Connecticut?,” Courtney said in a press release.

Courtney, who has been successful in winning a new submarine contract critical to Electric Boat and the Groton Submarine Base, said there are more fights ahead for the people of eastern Connecticut.

“Despite these advancements, House Republicans last week pushed through a measure to slash support for our firefighters, gut funding that helps homeless veterans, and ended critical infrastructure investment and the jobs that go with it,” Courtney said. “Their efforts highlight what is at stake for this district, and why it is critical that eastern Connecticut continue to have a strong voice defending its priorities over the next two years.”

“After careful deliberation, however, I have decided to focus on my work as a Congressman and will decline to enter the race for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate,” Courtney concluded.

His decision leaves the door wide open for Murphy and former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, who announced her campaign before Lieberman announced his retirement.

Edward ‘Ted’ Kennedy Jr. told reporters last week in Bridgeport that he wasn’t considering a run for office at the moment.

So far several Republicans, such as Linda McMahon who spent close to $50 million on a failed 2010 bid for the U.S. Senate, have been mentioned as possible contenders, but none have officially announced.