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Leading Democrat Drops Campaign For Patrick Murphy's House Seat

McKinlay was the leading Democrat to replace Murphy, above, in Florida's 18th District race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Melissa McKinlay, the Democrat who was viewed as the party's front-runner in the highly contested race to replace Rep. Patrick Murphy, said Monday she will end her six-month-old campaign.  

In an email to supporters , McKinlay said the entrance of millionaire businessman Randy Perkins into the race would make the cost for her to win "immense" and further distract from her day job as a Palm Beach County commissioner.  "That revelation is a game changer for me and is not a compromise I will make for my constituents," she said. "A public servant’s integrity and trust are the assets citizens care about most. I will always make decisions to retain my integrity and remain worthy of your trust."  

McKinlay had raised $292,958, more than any other candidate in the race, Democrat or Republican. But the entry last week of Perkins, who has vowed to spend as much as $5 million of his self-made fortune on the race, changed the playing field.  

Perkins has already earned criticism for the financial support he and his company, AshBritt, provided to Florida Gov. Rick Scott's campaign.  

Florida's 18th District is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call. Three other Democrats — including McKinlay's fellow Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor, attorney Jonathan Chane and former professor John Xuna, are in the race. Meanwhile, eight Republicans are seeking their party's nomination.  

Correction: An earlier version of the photo caption for this story misstated the candidates running for the 18th District seat. Related: Grayson Trumps Murphy’s Trump Comparison DSCC Endorses Murphy in Florida Florida District Lines in Limbo as Court Ruling Awaited Favorite Sons Pinching GOP Florida Senate Contributions Roll Call Race Ratings Map: Ratings for Every House and Senate Race in 2016 Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.