Former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel has announced that he will not seek the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservative party.

"This is not a small or easy decision," Mandel said in a written statement released Wednesday morning.

"I have had to consider the interests of my family and all parts of my life against the responsibility and commitment that a return to politics would involve.

“I have been blessed by a strong and successful public life.I am proud of my record and achievements, but I do not believe now is the time to start another political journey. Therefore, I will not be part of the upcoming PC leadership race.”

Mandel stepped down from office last fall after serving nine years as mayor.

He is the latest potential candidate to rule himself out of the race to replace Alison Redford as premier and party leader.

Interim premier Dave Hancock said Mandel was an effective mayor.

"We did a lot together and I have a lot of respect for him. He's obviously looked at it and made his own decisions for his own reasons," said Hancock who has said that he is not interested in running.

Labour minister and potential leadership candidate Thomas Lukaszuk said he empathized with Mandel over his decision.

"It's a long term commitment of your life, your family life, but when I heard of his decision I can't tell you I was surprised."

Lukaszuk said he is experiencing the same struggle, as he considers entering the race.

"Don't count me out, I'm definitely thinking about it," he said.

Former municipal affairs minister Ken Hughes is the only declared candidate so far. 

Nominations open on May 15. The vote will take place on Sept. 6.  A second vote will be held on Sept. 20 if no one gets more than 50 per cent support on the first ballot.