Jason Kenney has confirmed he is leaving federal politics to run for the Alberta PC Party leadership.
Kenny, a former Harper cabinet minister, was considered a front-runner to become the next permanent leader of the federal Conservative Party.
His goal will be to unite the Alberta PC and Wildrose parties in time for the next provincial election to defeat the governing NDP.
Opposition Wildrose party leader Brian Jean said the PCs will have work to do to make a merger happen.
The Tory leadership job has been vacant since Jim Prentice, also a former cabinet minister, quit after leading the party to a third-place finish in the last provincial election. Party members pick a new leader next March 18.