Former Ontario deputy premier George Smitherman has announced that he will not be running to replace outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty as leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.

In a statement released Tuesday, Smitherman said he wants to focus on new projects.

“On many levels the challenge excites and energizes me, but a return to active politics at this time isn’t compatible with my personal objectives,” he said.

“With two kids under age four and three new businesses it wouldn’t be fair to anyone for me to pursue my love of politics at this time.”

Smitherman unsuccessfully ran against Rob Ford in the 2010 Toronto mayoral election.

Before that, he served as deputy premier and minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
On Oct. 15, McGuinty announced that he would resign as leader once the party voted for a replacement at its leadership convention slated for Jan. 25-27, 2013.

The nomination deadline is Nov. 23 and many names have been circulated including municipal affairs minister Kathleen Wynne, health minister Deb Matthews and former MPP Sandra Pupatello.