Former Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) has ruled out a run for his old seat.

Oberstar, who was first elected to Congress in 1974, suffered a surprise loss to Republican Chip Cravaack in last year's election.

Since November, the former chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee had been quiet about his future plans, but speculation he was plotting a return to politics ignited after he surfaced at a recent luncheon in Duluth.

But Oberstar said that, while he may return to politics, he didn't want a rematch with Cravaack.

"Things have changed and I'm moving in another direction," Oberstar told Minnesota Public Radio's Cathy Wurzer. "Who knows what circumstances will be in the future, but truthfully I don't see any such circumstance changing."

Still, he called serving in Congress the "greatest privilege in your life."

"To serve the people. And I think, I pray, in time that will rub off on this new wave of people setting foot with this idea that we're going to stop things, we're going to roll back," he said. "Let's talk about building."

Oberstar said he plans to consult on transportation issues and will take up a post as visiting scholar on transportation at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute.

Oberstar lost to Cravaack by fewer than 5,000 votes, a surprising outcome that many observers attributed to the national environment favoring Republicans.