Democrats have, for the time being, averted a costly primary in Rep. Dan Lungren's (R-Calif.) district.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) Director Bill Slaton announced Monday that he will be ending his primary campaign against Dr. Ami Bera. Bera has been among the top fundraising challengers in the country, but Slaton was able to self-fund extensively.

Slaton said he will be supporting Bera.

From Slaton's e-mail to supporters:

Working to develop the new energy economy and the green jobs we need is the challenge I truly want to tackle. Consequently, I am ending my campaign for Congress and will turn my full attention to the tremendous opportunities facing SMUD and the alternative energy start-ups locating here.  

The window of opportunity for establishing our region as one of the nation's hubs for this emerging industry will not stay open long. We have to seize the momentum now.

This morning I shared my decision to withdraw from the Congressional race with Dr. Ami Bera and offered him my support. I wish him well and look forward to working with him on these issues when he is our next Representative in Congress. 

Slaton becomes the third candidate to drop out of the primary, joining Elk Grove City Councilman Gary Davis and 2008 nominee Bill Durston.