PHOENIX (AP) -- State Sen. Al Melvin on Monday dropped his bid for the Republican nomination for Arizona governor, citing his inability to collect enough contributions to win public funding for his campaign.
The move leaves six other Republicans to slug it out for their party's nomination in the Aug. 26 primary and the chance to take on Democrat Fred DuVal in the November general election. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer can't seek a third term.
Melvin said he could not run a viable campaign without the more than $750,000 he would have received from the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, so he decided to pull out. Melvin needed 4,500 $5 contributions to win that funding.
"This was a difficult decision but one that I am at peace with," Melvin said in a statement. "It was difficult because I believe so passionately about the principles we were campaigning for and because, as other candidates can attest to, you feel a tremendous responsibility to not let down your supporters and all those who have contributed time and treasure to the effort."
The Tucson lawmaker said staying in the race would split the conservative vote among Republicans. He did not identify whom he would support or whom he considered a "liberal" among the remaining Republican candidates.
The GOP hopefuls are state Treasurer Doug Ducey, former Go Daddy executive Christine Jones, former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, Secretary of State Ken Bennett, former U.S. Rep. Frank Riggs and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.
Thomas last week was denied public funding for his campaign after falling 113 contributions short of the qualifying number. Thomas, who lost his law license in 2012 because of failed corruption investigations that he and county Sheriff Joe Arpaio launched against political opponents, has one chance to file additional contributions and win his funding. He's actively gathering contributions.
Bennett has received public funding, but the other four candidates are running with private financing.
Melvin's withdrawal will likely not be a game-changer, because he was seen as a minor player behind Ducey, Jones, Smith and Bennett.
Melvin said last week he would consider dropping out of the race if he didn't have enough contributions by Thursday, saying Friday was the deadline for removing his name from the ballot.
But his campaign consultant, Constantin Querard, said Friday was the deadline for Maricopa County and the secretary of state's office has a Monday deadline for the other counties. That deadline prompted the quicker-than-expected withdrawal.
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