Arizona state Sen. Steve Gallardo withdrew on Tuesday from the crowded race to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Ed Pastor.
Gallardo, a potentially competitive candidate in the race, will instead run to replace one of his former Congressional rivals, Mary Rose Wilcox, in her seat on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
The race for Pastor’s 7th District will now come down to the two most organized Democrats of the handful of contenders — Wilcox and state Rep. Ruben Gallego. “I was prepared to run and win in CD7, but our community cannot afford to take a step backwards in leadership at the County,” Gallardo said in a statement. “I am confident that CD7 will be in good hands, but it is absolutely vital that we have bold and experienced leadership at the County.”
Wilcox is a longtime politician in the area and has the backing of Pastor and EMILY’s List, an organization that backs Democratic women who support abortion rights. Gallego is backed by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz.
Phoenix television affiliate KPNX first reported the news of Gallardo’s exit.
The Aug. 26 Democratic primary winner is likely to carry the Safe Democratic seat in the fall.