B.C. MP Nathan Cullen has told CBC News that he will not be running for the leadership of the B.C. NDP.
Cullen, who represents the Skeena-Bulkley Valley riding in northwestern B.C., was regarded as a possible front runner in the party's search for a new leader, following Adrian Dix's resignation after his devastating loss to Liberal Premier Christy Clark in the May 2013 provincial election.
Cullen told the CBC that he wanted to follow through on a commitment he made to Jack Layton to help the party form the next federal government.
"After a great deal of consultation over the past couple of months and a lot of personal reflection, I've decided to stay with my role here as a federal member of parliament for Skeena and northwestern B.C. and finish the project we started with Jack Layton," he said.
Cullen said despite finding an incredible amount of support to pursue the party's provincial leadership, ultimately his gut told him to stick with his commitment to politics in Ottawa.
"I've really thought hard on this, there's been an incredible amount of support coming from B.C. and the potential for government is there, yet I feel this strong, strong need to finish what I started and help contribute to that dream of an NDP government for Canada."
"I was going to disappoint somebody, so I had to check in with my heart and with my family as to what, where am I best to do the work I want to see done in the world."
"Looking ahead to what we have to get done here in the next 18 months or so — to not only defeat the Stephen Harper government — but to replace it with something Canadians can believe in again, that's where my gut eventually landed."
Second hopeful to bow out
Cullen is now the second potential front runner to take their name out of consideration, after MLA John Horgan announced a similar decision last month.
But Horgan said he bowed out to make more room for outsiders like Cullen to jump in.
Cullen says despite his opting out, he hopes others like Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson — who stepped down as an MLA in 2008 to run for mayor — will consider a run for the provincial leadership.
The party will debate when to hold their leadership vote at a convention next weekend.