State Sen. Lou Correa — after weeks of rumors that he would run for mayor of Santa Ana in the November Election, culminating with him pulling candidacy papers Monday — said Wednesday that he will not enter the race after all.

“After a review of various factors, I have decided not to run for Mayor at this time,” Correa (D-Santa Ana) stated in an email to a Voice of OC reporter. “I was deeply touched by all of the calls of encouragement that I received from folks from all walks of life, and all across party lines. I thank you all.”

Correa’s announcement abruptly ended rampant speculation that Correa would either take on incumbent Mayor Miguel Pulido in the most high-profile mayoral election in the city’s recent memory or that Pulido would bow out and allow Correa to run in a field without the challenge of a powerful incumbent.

The two had been in talks about just that possibility, according to multiple sources.

Correa, who is termed out of the state Senate in January, would not comment further on his reasons for not entering the race. However, in his email, Correa said he will “focus on his exploratory Committee for Attorney General 2018.”

Pulido, the city’s 20-year mayor, had long pulled the levers of power at City Hall. But his influence and share of the popular vote has declined in recent years, and his political profile took a major blow as the district attorney and state launched investigations into a property swap with a city contractor. 

With Pulido’s possible departure, Correa’s candidacy was seen as the beginning of the most significant changing of the guard since the Clinton years.

Where Correa goes next remains unclear. Some have speculated that Correa would run for the first county supervisorial district in a special election early next year should Supervisor Janet Nguyen be victorious in her run for state senate.

Meanwhile, the mayoral candidates field continues to evolve.

Councilman Vincent Sarmiento also pulled papers for mayor Monday, making him the second council member to potentially join the race. Councilman Roman Reyna has filed to run, and the county is verifying the submission, according to the city’s most recent candidates status report.

There have also been rumors that former Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez will run for mayor. And if Pulido decides not to run – he has until Friday to file – all other candidates have an extended week to submit candidacy papers. That could set off a flood of new candidates, insiders say.

Correction: A previous version of this article included a misstatement regarding Sen. Lou Correa’s political aspirations.

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