New Orleans Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco announced Tuesday that she would not seek re-election this fall.
Blanco, a Democrat, has seen her popularity plummet because of the state's sluggish recovery from hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
With nine months left in her term, Blanco said her withdrawal from the race would allow initiatives she planned to raise in the upcoming legislative session to move forward without being hampered by partisan politics.
"I am doing this so we can work without interference from election year politics," Blanco said in a brief televised address.
Blanco, 64, Louisiana's first female governor, said she had committed her "every waking hour" to dealing with the state's recovery. But she was widely criticized for being slow to request federal assistance in the immediate aftermath of the storms that devastated areas of Louisiana. She was then unable to cement education and rebuilding initiatives, stimulate the economy and forge coordination between federal, state and local government, analysts said.
"It was becoming overwhelming for her," said Silas Lee, a New Orleans-based national pollster and political commentator.