OTTAWA - Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre is bowing out of his party's leadership race.

Poilievre says he is overwhelmed by the support he received as he built a campaign to replace Andrew Scheer.

But the 40-year-old Ottawa MP says today his heart was not fully in it as he tries to balance family life with politics.

Poilievre says he “mostly missed” the first year of his daughter's life as he campaigned to keep his own Ottawa-area seat in October's federal election.

Poilievre is the third high-profile contender to publicly bail out of the Conservative leadership contest in as many days, following former Quebec premier Jean Charest and former interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose.

Former cabinet minister Peter MacKay and Ontario MPs Marilyn Gladu and Erin O'Toole remain the three most prominent contenders still in the mix.