Duchy Trachtenberg, a former county council member in Maryland, called off her campaign to unseat Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) on Wednesday, citing a recurrence of breast cancer.
"While I undertook the campaign with a clean bill of health, circumstances have now deteriorated to the point where I honestly cannot continue the race," Trachtenberg said in a statement announcing her withdrawal. "I must focus my energies on treatment and recovery with the love and support of my family."
Trachtenberg was the first Democrat to declare her candidacy for the seat, but was upstaged by Rob Garagiola, the majority leader of Maryland's state Senate, who emerged as the front-runner when he joined her in the primary in October.
Bartlett's district was redrawn during redistricting and is now more competitive territory for Democrats.
In a nod to the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, Trachtenberg said she holds out hope that Democrats will nominate a candidate who will fight for the "99 percent" in Congress.
"The undue influence of special interests in American politics must come to an end in 2012," she said. "The people of Maryland's 6th congressional district deserve no less."