Lane Walthers, a political unknown from Enumclaw who filed as a Democrat last week against state Sen. Pam Roach, withdrew from the race Monday.
The 54-year-old firefighter's filing had surprised even Democratic party officials in the 31st Legislative District. At the time, Walthers declined to comment when asked for information about himself, saying he would send out a news release in a week or so.
And so he did. Walthers said in a statement Monday that the entry of a second Democrat, Lynda Messner of Bonney Lake, into the race Friday prompted his retreat.
Walthers said in his release that he didn't want to see a repeat of the 2010 race, when two Democrats split their party's vote and sent Roach and another Republican to the general election. Like four years ago, Roach of Auburn faces intraparty competition this year from state Rep. Cathy Dahlquist, R-Enumclaw.
"With no real prospect of having a chance to make it through the primary election in August, I am withdrawing my candidacy," Walthers said. "I do not wish to put my supporters through a pointless primary race at great cost with little to no chance of winning."
Walthers' filing had sparked an accusation of political game-playing. Roach contended he was running to keep serious Democrats out of the race. She predicted Walthers might withdraw or stay and not campaign.
He was the only candidate in South Sound races to withdraw Monday, the deadline to rescind their candidacies.