Stepping out of the race, an emotional Rep. Ed Perlmutter said the Democratic gubernatorial primary was going to take more energy than he had.

Allison Sherry/CPR News

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter is dropping out of the governor's race, the candidate confirmed in an emotional news conference Tuesday. Word of the 7th District Democrat's decision had leaked Monday.

He also confirmed that he wouldn't seek re-election to Congress, saying that too many good people were already vying for the seat and others need a turn to serve.

"I had to take a good look to see if I had enough fire in the belly," Perlmutter said.

Asked how he will help serve the Democratic party in the future, he paused and became tearful and said,  "I'll find ways to help the team win."

Perlmutter has represented Jefferson County since 2006 and was among the first entrants into the now very-crowded Democratic field for the open governor's seat.

He was competing against former state treasurer Cary Kennedy and others. State senator Mike Johnston has already logged historic fundraising totals and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis has pledged to pour plenty of his own millions into the race. 

"Jared's a good friend of mine. Honestly, when he got in, I had to take a good look deep down," Perlmutter said.

Perlmutter said he raised $350,000 this past quarter.

The Kennedy, Polis and Johnston campaigns all issued statements commending Perlmutter for his years of public service.

He also said the shooting of U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise in June was also a cause for introspection.

"I talked to my family about it," Perlmutter said. "They've really probed and prodded and wanted to make sure I was doing what was right. And I think I am."

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