Democrat James Mackler says he is dropping out of the U.S. Senate race to replace Sen. Bob Corker next year.
Mackler issued a statement Thursday night saying that although he is stepping back from the race, he will “continue holding anti-service extremists like Marsha Blackburn accountable through a political action committee called ‘Believe in Service.'”
Mackler says the PAC will support federal candidates who have pledged to protect and expand national service programs.
Mackler’s decision comes days after former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen announced he was entering the race as a Democrat.
On the Republican side, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Larry Crim and Stephen Fincher will face off in the Republican primary.
Mackler’s full statement:
I believe in service.
I joined the Army after 9/11 because I needed to do more, and eight months ago I was again compelled to step forward and run for U.S. Senate because politics as usual in Washington is hurting Tennesseans.
Today, Washington prioritizes serving special interest donors over service to our nation. While a $1.5 trillion giveaway written behind closed doors with no input from the American people is one step closer to reality, the House votes to end AmeriCorps and introduces another bill targeting public service student loan forgiveness. As someone who paid off my student loans with combat pay from Iraq, I cannot stand by while national service is under attack.
This is a moment for unity and we cannot risk dividing those seeking change in Washington because there is no time to waste.
While I am stepping back from this U.S. Senate race, I will continue holding anti-service extremists like Marsha Blackburn accountable through a political action committee called “Believe in Service.”
Using the platform Tennesseans helped me build, “Believe in Service” will support federal candidates who will protect and expand our national service programs that provide so many opportunities for service here and abroad.
It has been an honor to have been a candidate during this critical time in our democracy and I am humbled to have earned the support of so many across Tennessee.