Traci Dippert has dropped her campaign against Virginia state Sen. Bryce Reeves (R), a blow to Democrats vying to take control of the legislature’s upper chamber.
Dippert, a Democrat, said she was unable to balance her teaching career with the demands of a campaign.
“I have spent nearly 2 decades in the teaching profession and it is my first passion, my financial stability and must come first,” she said in an e-mail to supporters Friday afternoon.
A freshman senator who defeated a longtime Democratic incumbent in 2011 by just 226 votes, Reeves tried this year to make his district more Republican by swapping precincts with a neighboring Democrat. Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) vetoed that bill last month.
No other candidate has entered the race against Reeves.
“While we are disappointed, we certainly understand Traci’s motivation,” the Fredericksburg Democratic Committee said in a statement. “There is an active effort underway to recruit a replacement candidate.”
Reeves, meanwhile, has been amassing funds for the challenge. He raised $179,266 in the first three months of the year, more than any other sitting senator, and has $463,177 in cash on hand — about 10 times Dippert’s total.
Even with the current lines and a strong candidate, unseating Reeves will likely be a challenge for Democrats. His central Virginia district broke narrowly for Sen. Tim Kaine (D) in 2012 and for Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) in 2013. In last year’s Senate race, however, Republican Ed Gillespie won the district by nearly ten points, and both McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark Herring lost there to their Republican rivals a year earlier.