State Rep. Walt Leger will not be joining the New Orleans mayor's race.

Leger, a Democrat, had been seriously eyeing the wide-open election and was seen as a potentially strong candidate. 

But Tuesday, a day before qualifying starts, Leger emailed supporters to say he would not be running.

"The decision was not an easy one, mostly because it presented such an amazing opportunity to serve this great city, but also because I am certain a path to victory was clear," Leger said. "However, my public service has never been about titles or jumping to the next best thing. Rather, I remain focused on working hard, studying issues, and relentlessly pursuing policy initiatives in a professional, reasonable and bipartisan manner."

Leger spent the early part of the year building up a serious campaign operation, spending $130,000 by April putting the pieces in place for a run. The budding campaign then went dormant, though even as late as Monday, many political observers speculated that Leger was still weighing the possibility of getting into the race.

That leaves a field of announced candidates that includes former Civil District Court Judge Michael Bagneris, City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and former Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet vying to replace Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who cannot run for re-election due to term limits. On Tuesday, businessman and former mayoral candidate Troy Henry also issued a news release announcing he was seriously considering getting into the race.

Qualifying for the fall election starts Wednesday and runs through Friday.

Follow Jeff Adelson on Twitter, @jadelson.​