Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Thursday afternoon that he will not seek reelection in 2018 after just two terms in office.

“I am today announcing that I will not seek a third term as governor,” Malloy said during a press conference at the Connecticut State Capitol. “Instead, I will focus all my attention and energy — I will use all of my political capital from now through the end of 2018 — to continue implementing my administration’s vision for a more sustainable and vibrant Connecticut economy.”

After three gubernatorial races and two terms in office, Malloy said he and his family were “ready for another stage” in their lives. He emphasized that his approval rating, which currently stands at 29 percent, according to a Morning Consult poll released Tuesday, was not a factor in his decision to step down in 2019.

Malloy has been one of the nation’s strongest supporters of refugee rights and will leave behind him a legacy of stricter gun control and criminal justice reform. But he will also depart during a budgetary crisis that his successor will be hard-pressed to solve. The state currently faces a $1.7 billion budget deficit for the coming fiscal year.

With Malloy out of the running, the Democratic ticket for the 2018 governor’s race is wide open.

It remains unclear whether Malloy’s announcement will prompt New Haven Mayor Toni Harp to run for governor in 2018. Rumors abounded earlier this year that Harp was gearing up for a gubernatorial run. In a December interview, Elm City lawyer Dawud Amin, a close friend of Harp who set up a political action committee called SEE 2 2020 for the mayor in October, hinted that Harp would receive “lots of support” if she ran for governor. But Harp told the News in December that she had no such plans for a gubernatorial run.

City spokesman Laurence Grotheer told the News on Thursday that Harp is out of her office for an extended weekend and that he had not had a chance to speak with her about Malloy’s statement. He said he relayed news of the statement to the mayor around noon on Thursday, but that he had not yet received a response from her, and added that he could not say whether the mayor was considering running for governor before speaking with her again.

Malloy defeated Republican Thomas Foley by just under 30,000 votes in the 2014 gubernatorial race.

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