THE "will he or won't he?" question now has an answer.
Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon is out of the federal Labor leadership race after withdrawing his "interest" on Wednesday.
The Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry revealed during the week he was considering the role if "no one else stepped up that he deemed appropriate".
"I'd like to see the party with a leader from regional Australia," he said at the time.
He added Labor needed "someone from the bush at the table" or "we're going to continue making the same mistakes".
But, after Chris Bowen and Tanya Plibersek both stepped aside in the past couple of days, Mr Fitzgibbon is backing Anthony Albanese.
"Despite our loss last Saturday, the Labor party remains rich with outstanding talent," he said.
"One of those great talents is Chris Bowen and he would have made an excellent parliamentary leader.
"With Chris out of the contest, I am now free to put my support behind Anthony Albanese.
"I've had a long discussion with Albo about my demands that the party strengthens its focus on regional Australia, provides it with a meaningful seat at the party's decision-making table, and engages more on the issues, which matter most to working people living in our great regions.
"I am satisfied the Labor party, led by Anthony Albanese, will offer that focus and he'll listen closely to the needs and aspirations of our country people.
"As a consequence, I will not be a part of the Labor leadership contest.
"I wish Albo the very best and look forward to working with him and the team to rebuild Labor's support in regional Australia and among blue collar workers."
Mr Fitzgibbon will now turn his attention to the Hunter electorate after conceding significant ground in Saturday's election.