Former Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii) announced Sunday he won't pursue the Democratic nomination to face Rep. Charles Djou (R-Hawaii), which improves his party's chances of retaking the seat it lost in the recent special election.
"We've taken apart the results and analyzed our options every which way," Case wrote in an email to supporters. "If it all lined up it'd be an easy decision, but it doesn't."
Case finished third in the May 22 vote.
"My heart tells me to stay in this fight, but my head says this has become the wrong fight. So today I'm withdrawing my candidacy for the U. S. House of Representatives from Hawaii's great first district," he wrote.
Case thanked his supporters and said he will continue to look for opportunities to serve.
Djou won the special election with 40 percent of the vote. Case was third with 29 percent and state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa was second with 31 percent.
Hanabusa has said she plans to seek the Democratic nod to face Djou. Strategists were worried about the possibility of the party again being divided by the bitter primary battle.
Case did not mention Hanabusa in his letter to supporters.