The candidate who has raised the most money so far for the Democratic nomination in the 5th congressional district has dropped out of the race, saying he saw “no viable pathway” to victory in the general election.
Lewis Combs released a statement Saturday saying he was suspending his campaign immediately, following an analysis of the reconfigured district.
The Virginia Public Access Project shows that Combs, a former prosecutor, had raised the most money of any candidate so far — $214,890 with small business owner and minister Josh Throneburg second at $193,748. Combs’ announcement comes just days after Andy Parker, who became nationally known as a gun control advocate after his daughter was killed on live television, announced he was entering the race.
With Combs out, the Democratic nomination will now be between Throneburg, Parker and farmer Warren McClellan. VPAP lists another candidate, Shadi Ayyas, but that candidate’s website says he’s running in the 10th District in Northern Virginia and his campaign has not responded to an inquiry asking for clarification.
The 5th District is currently represented by first-term Republican Bob Good of Campbell County. He faces a challenge for the Republican nomination from recently-retired Air Force veteran Daniel Moy.
In a statement, Combs said his campaign had suspended “the bulk of our fund-raising efforts” after the Virginia Supreme Court released new redistricting maps in late December to allow time for analysis of the new district. The two special masters who drew the maps included a report that rated the new 5th District as 53% Republican.
In his statement, Combs said: “As a result of our analysis, I have decided that there is not a viable path to victory for our progressive campaign in the 5th Congressional District. We are confident that our campaign could raise the funds and field the organization needed to run an effective campaign. However, I could not truthfully assure our potential donors that there is a pathway to victory in the general election. A member of my campaign staff pointed out that part of the analysis should be evaluating where I can be of most service to my community over the next few months. I have decided to focus on providing pro bono legal assistance to those in need and to support several organizations that are providing important services to our citizens in the Commonwealth. I will continue my work to make sure that voting rights are secure for all Virginians. I would like to thank all those who have supported our campaign.”