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Leo Molloy has pulled out of the Auckland mayoral race after a recent poll had him dropping to third place.
The Ratepayers' Alliance-Curia poll had businessman Wayne Brown in second place behind Efeso Collins.
In a statement on Friday, Molloy said he is ending his bid "for now".
"I'm today announcing the end of my bid to become mayor of Auckland - for now! It's the right thing to do for the city," he said.
Molloy said he was pulling out after the recent poll suggested he couldn't win.
"Some aspects of my polling are still strong, however there are clear trends emerging that suggest I cannot win - this time.
"On that basis I'm deciding to withdraw immediately and, in doing so, potentially help other candidates - who won't do as a good a job as I would have - but at least will be better than the dispiriting status quo we've had under Phil Goff and this Labour mayoralty.
"I wish all the remaining hard-working candidates the very best for the gruelling weeks ahead."
The businessman said he will be getting on with "my other life as a hospo legend" and claimed, "cowboys don't cry".
"I have a new restaurant/bar to design and build, and I'm looking forward to concentrating on that project.
"I thank my team for their hard work, and of course my sponsors. We did our best, but it wasn't quite enough.
"I won't be endorsing another mayoral candidate just yet, but I may do so once I scrutinize their policies in more detail. If I do endorse it'll be a fiscally responsible candidate - not a reckless spender."
Molloy also indicated his intention to stand again in 2025 saying he had "learnt some valuable lessons and if there's an opportunity in years' time I'll be in, boots and all".
"To the many battlers in the street, the hard-working, kind and generous people who backed me, supported me, and even just chatted to me...I thank you, you are the Auckland I love.
"I have no regrets. It was fun, and I thank all who participated."
Molloy was up against Heart of the City CEO Viv Beck, Auckland councillor Efeso Collins, Hibiscus and Bays Community Board chairman Gary Brown, former Far North mayor Wayne Brown, 2019 mayoral candidate and co-leader of the New Conservative Party Ted Johnston, teacher Jake Law, adult entertainer Lisa Lewis, 2019 mayoral candidate Craig Lord, animal rights advocate and research scientist Michael Morris, former restauranteur and mayoral candidate John Palino and John Lehmann.