LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Former Kentucky Auditor Crit Luallen will not be a candidate for governor in the 2015 election.
"After careful deliberation, I have decided not to enter the 2015 Governor's race," Luallen said in a statement. "I remain passionate about Kentucky and its potential for the future. But in the end, I had to make the decision based on what I thought was best for me personally and my family. I am blessed with a wonderful marriage, a large extended family and a circle of good friends. My husband Lynn and I both have our health and a lot we want to do and enjoy together. This simply wasn't the right time in our lives for us to make the decision to enter the race."
The popular Democrat has been considering the race for over a year. In March, Luallen traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with political consultants. She told WHAS11 last year that if she did enter the race she would be the most qualified of any candidate.
But Luallen has also expressed concerns about distracting from fellow Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes' race for U.S. Senate.
"I greatly admire and appreciate Auditor Luallen's decades of service to the Commonwealth," Grimes said in a statement. "I look up to Crit as a mentor and will continue to count on her valuable advice throughout the race as there is much left to do to move Kentucky forward."
Though likely candidates Attorney General Jack Conway and Auditor Adam Edelen have indicated their respective decisions to enter the governor's race were not reliant on Luallen's decision, her announcement could accelerate both men's timing on announcing their own plans.
Other potential Democratic candidates include former Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo and Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo.
Louisville businessman Hal Heiner has already announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination. Agriculture Commissioner James Comer (R) is also expected to run. Philanthropist Cathy Bailey of Louisville, the former U.S. Ambassador to Latvia, is also considering a 2015 bid.
"I want to express my profound gratitude to the many wonderful supporters who have given me so much encouragement to consider the race," Luallen said. "It was that encouragement which made this a very difficult decision and one that required careful consideration. I am optimistic that others will step forward with the leadership and vision to move our state forward."