Citing a lack of financial support and competing demands on his time, Romeo Saganash, the first Indigenous person to ever run for a party leadership position, pulled his candidacy from the NDP leadership race to replace deceased leader Jack Layton.

The Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou MP surprised the country by throwing his name into the ring last fall as he was a “rookie” candidate, having only held his seat since last May.

“My mother, sisters and brothers and my children all need more attention than I have been able to provide,” Saganash said in his announcement. “I am unable to devote enough time to them, my constituents or my party and run the kind of campaign that I would like to run.”

Saganash said he found it difficult to campaign as a “favourite second choice”, as he could easily earn warm congratulations but seldom the funds needed to campaign with.

Saganash made it clear that pulling out of the leadership candidacy wouldn’t dampen his lust for politics or pursuing the NDP agenda as he will continue to represent those in his riding with the same passion.

“My run for leadership may be over, but my run against Harper’s politics is just starting,” said Saganash.