UPDATED: Former state Sen. Eric Mansfield quit the race for N.C. Democratic Party chairman Thursday, citing family reasons.
Mansfield, a Fayetteville surgeon who lost a primary bid for lieutenant governor, said his mother's declining health led to the decision, though he faced significant opposition from allies of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, which helped crush his previous campaign. "It brings my family and I great sadness to announce that I must end my campaign for North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman effective immediately," Mansfield said in an email sent to supporters Thursday morning. "As many of you know my mother has developed a rapidly deteriorating disease which requires my full attention."
The move comes nine days before the Democratic Executive Committee is scheduled to meet to pick its new leader and opens a candidate vacuum. The only remaining candidate in the race is Randy Voller, the Pittsboro mayor and Chatham County Democratic Party chairman.