Former House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong says he won’t run for attorney general, but he is telling supporters not to count him out of politics next year.

The Democrat has been weighing a run for the state’s top legal post since he lost his seat when Republicans eliminated his largely rural Southside district. In a release Monday, Armstrong said his 20 years of service in the House of Delegates took time away from his family and business and that those priorities “now deserve my focus.”

Armstrong pledged his support to state Sen. Mark Herring, who announced his bid for attorney general in July. In the statement, Armstrong said the Loudoun Democrat “will make a great attorney general.”

“I hope that my decision will not be perceived as an exit from Virginia politics,” Armstrong said in the statement, adding that he also plans to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in 2013.

Several candidates have made known their intent to run for attorney general since Ken Cuccinelli announced more than a year ago that he would leave the post to run for governor.

Justin Fairfax, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia says he will seek the Democratic nomination for attorney general. On the Republican side, state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain is running against Del. Rob B. Bell III (R-Albemarle). (John T. Frey, the clerk of the Fairfax County Circuit Court, has withdrawn from the race.)