BROOKSVILLE - Citing family issues, Democrat David Welch has dropped out of the District 35 State House race.
Welch said he made the decision Monday night but had considered it for two weeks. He said he is exiting the race reluctantly and plans to get back into politics in 2016.
But right now, Welch said he is not able to move ahead with the campaign and it would be unfair to the public.
"Family comes first, always," Welch said. "It is with great reluctance that I am doing this. This is the last thing I wanted to do."
Welch, 49, is president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Hernando. He announced his candidacy in October.
His departure leaves one Democrat in the House race, former Hernando County Commissioner Rose Rocco.
The sole Republican is Blaise Ingoglia, chairman of the Hernando County Republican Executive Committee and vice chair of the Florida Republican Party.
Because of term limits, the current state legislator, Republican Robert Schenck must step down this year. District 35 encompasses most of Hernando County.