California Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) announced Monday he is dropping out of the U.S. Senate race.
Chavez, a Republican who represents northern coastal San Diego County, made the announcement during a live GOP debate on KOGO-AM in San Diego.
"I think the best role I can fill for the Republican Party and moving the agenda forward, which I've been involved in since 2001, is to run for my Assembly seat in the 76th,” Chavez said. “I'm not going to be running for the United States Senate, and I'll be leaving the field right now."
With that, he walked directly off the stage and out of the room.
As he said, the retired U.S. Marine colonel will be campaigning for re-election to his own seat in the state legislature. Chavez said he discussed the decision with his family and prayed before breaking the news.
The Sacramento Bee reported Monday that Chavez has run into fundraising troubles. He took in about $105,000 last year but closed 2015 with just $369 on hand and about $43,000 in debts, he told the paper.
Tom Del Beccaro and Duf Sundheim are now the only two GOP candidates vying for a chance to reach the general election. Both men have previously served as the chairman of the California Republican Party.
State Attorney General Kamala Harris and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) are running as the Democratic candidates. In California, the two candidates with the highest number of votes in the primary move onto the November ballot, no matter which party they represent.
The Senate seat is open after Sen. Barbara Boxer announced her intention to retire after this term.