News that Tory MP Jim Prentice is vacating his seat has perked up the ears of two former mayoral candidates.

Former news anchor Barb Higgins confirms she's open to the idea of running for the Conservative Party in Calgary Centre-North in a by-election.

And former alderman Ric McIver says he, too is strongly considering running for the federal seat as a Tory.

McIver says he knew he wouldn't be out of the political spotlight for long, but admits he's surprised at how quickly an opportunity opened up.

Both of them ran for the mayor's seat in the October 18 municipal election.

A by-election for the riding hasn't yet been called.

Prentice announced he's quitting politics to become vice-chair of the CIBC.

Prentice's decision to leave federal politics has many speculating whether he's setting himself up to take a run at Premier Stelmach's job.

He has long been regarded as one of Prime Minister Harper's most capable ministers. Today's announcement is viewed as a major set back to Harper's government.

Prentice says he will be resigning from cabinet immediately and plans to leave his seat in Calgary by the end of the year.