Ophthalmologist Mary Lawrence ended her bid for the DFL Party nomination in the Second Congressional District, clearing the endorsement path for the other DFL candidate in the race, Angie Craig.

DFL Chair Ken Martin announced the development in a race that is being closely watched to see whether the swing district will remain in Republican hands, following U.S. Rep. John Kline’s decision to step down. Five GOP candidates are seeking their party’s nomination, including former talk radio host Jason Lewis and former state Sen. John Howe.

“The Second Congressional District is home to one of the most contested races in the country, which makes the campaign’s decision to exit the race and put our party and its values first all the more selfless,” Martin said in a statement.

Lawrence said in a statement that it was unlikely she would have won her party’s endorsement and that she did not want to hurt DFLers’ chances to flip the rural and suburban district.

“As passionate as I am about enhancing opportunity and strengthening our economy, I am equally steadfast in my belief in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party,” Lawrence said. “While I wholeheartedly believe that I could win the primary, and go on to win the general [election], this pursuit would deeply divide and harm our party.”

Ricardo Lopez