Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna won't run for re-election, clearing the way for Democrats and Republicans in a race for an open seat.
Luna said Monday he decided not to run, feared his candidacy would become a political distraction and take away from his efforts to implement recommendations of a recent task force.
Luna says he's talked with former Republican state Sen. Melinda Smyser, wife of a prominent Capitol lobbyist, about running if he doesn't.
But he said he's not yet ready to endorse anybody.
Republicans already in the race are Grangeville teacher John Eynon and American Falls principal Randy Jensen.
The lone Democratic candidate so far is Jana Jones, beaten by Luna in 2006.
Smyser, who attended Luna's press conference Monday but left quickly, couldn't immediately be reached.