Lawmakers keep their eyes on the ball _lowres

Senator Karen Carter Peterson

Days after an interview that suggested she was preparing for a last-minute entry into the New Orleans mayor's race, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson has told supporters she won't be jumping in after all.

Peterson posted her decision on social media Wednesday.

Peterson, head of the state Democratic Party and a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, has long been seen as a potential contender to replace Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who can't run for re-election because of term limits.

In an article published online Saturday, Peterson told Gambit that she was doing "all the due diligence a potential candidate has to do," which immediately fueled rumors she would get into the race. That speculation was further stoked when Peterson shared the article — and positive responses to it — on social media.

Those rumors had already been circulating in political circles for months, though the Gambit interview was the first time she addressed them directly. In that interview, she also confirmed that she had been doing polling on the race and working to develop a campaign strategy. 

In her message Wednesday, Peterson said she was "thankful for the continued support and confidence expressed by so many citizens of our great city" but planned to remain in the Senate, "focusing on important issues of access to affordable healthcare, equity in public education, voting rights and criminal justice reform."

Peterson said that as the city's 2018 tricentennial approaches, New Orleans is "well-poised to reclaim its position as a regional economic powerhouse and continue as a leading international destination."

However, "we must recommit ourselves to ensuring that more of our citizens are poised to share fully in the city's success," Peterson said. "With public safety, neighborhood revitalization and increased economic opportunity for all at the forefront of voters' concerns, the next mayor must offer bold solutions to these systemic problems."

Three other current or former elected officials are in the race: former Civil District Court Judge Michael Bagneris, City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and former Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet.

Qualifying for the mayor's race, as well as for seats on the New Orleans City Council, begins Wednesday and ends on July 14.

Follow Jeff Adelson on Twitter, @jadelson.​