Former alderman and mayoral candidate Ric McIver has announced that he would like to seek election in the federal riding of Calgary Centre-North following the surprise resignation of Jim Prentice. ((CBC))

Former mayoral candidate Ric McIver said Thursday he hopes to seek election in the federal riding of Calgary Centre-North, following the surprise resignation of Jim Prentice.

Prentice, who served as Conservative MP for Calgary Centre-North and environment minister, announced earlier Thursday that he was leaving politics to join the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce as a vice-chairman. He will begin his new role in January.

McIver, a former city alderman who received 32 per cent of the vote in the mayor's race on Oct. 18, said that he's been making inquiries for the last week or so to see which local MPs planned to run again in the next election.

"Just as I was almost finished that process, much to my surprise … minister Prentice announced that he is taking a position in the private sector," McIver told CBC News.

He said he's talked to "a whole number of people" and there seems to be good support for his aspirations.

"After the municipal election, I think I made it clear that I wasn't finished with political public life, and that I wasn't certain which direction I was going to go," McIver said.

The federal political scene is appealing in part because the Conservative Party is together, rather than split in two, he said. McIver believes there are a lot of important federal issues he can contribute to.

He said he's learning about the nomination process now.

Third-place mayoral candidate Barb Higgins, a former TV news anchor, is also interested in the seat Prentice is vacating, according to former campaign manager Alan Hallman.

He said Higgins, who garnered 26 per cent of the vote in the municipal election, has had a number of private sector job offers and is looking at her different options.

Political newcomer Naheed Nenshi surprised many by winning the Calgary mayor's race with 40 per cent of the vote.