Pederson said in an interview that she had considered running for the state's top job in 2006 but decided to return to private life instead. "I think it's important that I make this information known at this time, because I want to allow plenty of opportunity for others who are interested to throw their hat in the ring," she said.
Without Pederson in the race, the field of Democrats seeking to replace Gov. Tom Vilsack -- who says he will not seek a third term -- as the party's nominee is wide open though no Democrat has officially entered the race.
Those considered likely to enter the race now that Pederson is out include Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver, Des Moines-area state Rep. Ed Fallon and Attorney General Tom Miller. U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle of Iowa's 1st Congressional District is considering a run for governor on the Republican ticket.