Justice Minister Darin King has decided to not enter the leadership race for Newfoundland and Labrador's Progressive Conservatives, the latest high-profile Tory to stay on the sidelines. 

King, who had been considered a front-runner among possible contenders, announced his decision Monday in a series of tweets. 

King said he made the decision "after careful consideration and discussions" with family and friends. 

"I want to thank all those who reached out to offer me encouragement and support during this process. It was sincerely appreciated," said King. 

"I am proud to be a part of the PC [government] & optimistic & excited about the upcoming leadership convention & the naming of a new leader."

King follows other cabinet ministers who had earlier been pondering a leadership run, including Child, Youth and Family Services Minister Paul Davis and Fisheries Minister Keith Hutchings. 

So far, only Corner Brook businessman Bill Barry has declared for the leadership.

The PCs on Monday officially opened the race for party leader, with nominations closing on March 14. 

A new leader will be chosen at a convention in St. John's on July 5. 

The party has set a limit of $350,000 on campaign expenses. Donations from individuals and parties to each candidate cannot exceed $10,000.

Kathy Dunderdale resigned as premier and party leader in January. Tom Marshall is serving as premier until the winner of the leadership race is sworn in.