Former Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.) won't seek a rematch with freshman Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) next year, the Democrat said Thursday. 

"I've joined the Holland & Knight law firm, and I've been doing this 18 years, and discussed it with my wife," Klein told the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. "She's been an incredible supporter over the years. And I think its OK to step back a little bit and work in the private sector." 

Klein's decision closes the door on a rematch of one of last cycle's nastiest congressional contests and should come as a relief to Democrat Lois Frankel, who just jumped into the race against West.

Klein said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) "wants me to run. But I told him ... I think I'm ready to try something different."

Israel made a recent trip to Florida to recruit potential West challengers and spoke with Klein and Frankel, among others. 

Despite ruling out 2012, Klein said he's leaving his options open for the future.

"You never say 'never' for the future," he said. "But I'm very content and looking forward to work in the private sector." 

Aside from Frankel, Democratic businessman Patrick Murphy is already in the race on the Democratic side. 

West, whose national profile has exploded since his election in 2010, will be a top target for national Democrats next year.