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Friese drops out of race for Tucson-area US House seat

September 2, 2021 GMT

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — State Rep. Randy Friese of Tucson is dropping out of the race to replace retiring Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick.

Friese, a trauma surgeon, said in a statement Thursday that he’s not ready to give up his career in medicine.

“As the delta variant surges across our region, it has become an increasing challenge to fulfill my obligations to the hospital, my patients, and the campaign amidst a run for Congress,” Friese said.

Friese treated then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was critically wounded in the Jan. 8, 2011, mass shooting in Tucson. He is a trauma surgeon who has served in the Arizona House since 2015.

Friese’s departure from the race leaves two others seeking the Democratic nomination: state Sen. Kirsten Engel, an attorney, and state Rep. Daniel Hernandez, a Giffords intern who put pressure on her wound after she was shot. They’re running in the district Giffords represented before she resigned to focus on her recovery.

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Friese had led the field in fundraising, reporting $566,000 with $425,000 in the bank as of the end of June, according to Federal Election Commission records.

The 2nd Congressional District’s boundaries likely will change due to redistricting ahead of the 2022 election, but it currently includes parts of Tucson and southeastern Arizona.

The district is one of the most hotly contested in the state with races often decided by razor-thin margins.