Gillespie's GOP opponent drops bid

One of Virginia Senate candidate Ed Gillespie's (R) opponents for the GOP nomination is dropping his bid, citing Gillespie's overwhelming support to be the Republican candidate against Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.).

"To be blunt, the financial resources to continue this campaign for a statewide office are not available since Ed Gillespie has joined the race," Navy veteran Howie Lind (R) said in a statement.

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"Hats off to Ed for being able to garner a large amount of funds in the short amount of time since he announced," he continued. "Statewide campaigns are very expensive and financial backing corresponds directly to political strength and the ability to win on Election Day."

Lind declined to endorse Gillespie in the statement — but his decision is the latest sign that Gillespie, a GOP power player and former Republican National Committee chairman, will face little competition for the Republican nomination.

Still, Gillespie praised Lind following his announcement.

"I’ve enjoyed spending time with Howie Lind over the past few weeks as we’ve both pursued the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Mark Warner. I’m proud to call him a friend, appreciate his service to our nation and our party, and hope all the best for him in the future," Gillespie said in a statement.

Gillespie will still have to unite the sometimes-fractious Virginia Republican Party and win in a nominating convention before he could face the popular and well-funded Warner, and he still has an opponent in real estate agent Shak Hill (R). But it's looking increasingly likely that he'll have little problem securing the nomination.

— This post was updated at 10:09 a.m.

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