(CNN) - The Arizona sheriff who resigned his role on Mitt Romney's campaign amid scandal earlier this year announced Friday he has decided to end his congressional campaign.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, who was running for a House seat in the state's 4th Congressional District, said he's suspending his bid in order to run for re-election as sheriff.
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"I thank all my friends and supporters for their help and loyal support. I ask that you understand my promise to those I serve in Pinal County," Babeu said in a letter to supporters posted on his website early Friday morning.
Babeu faced a fiery controversy in February after sharply denying allegations that he had threatened to deport a former boyfriend. At the time, Babeu was serving as co-chair of Romney's Arizona campaign but resigned as the story over the accusations went national.
The Arizona sheriff has been known as a rising GOP star in recent years, appearing alongside Sen. John McCain in the senator's 2010 re-election campaign.
Babeu was challenging incumbent Rep. Paul Gosar in this cycle's Republican primary, scheduled to take place on August 28. State Sen. Ron Gould is also a contender in the race.
According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, however, Babeu was behind in fundraising compared to Gosar, bringing in a little more than $400,000 compared to Gosar at just under $700,000, as of the end of March.
In his letter to supporters Friday, Babeu argued he would maintain a stronger degree of influence as sheriff rather than congressman.
"Many Pinal residents have asked me to stay as their Sheriff and continue this fight," Babeu said. "Many worried that my voice and impact would be lost if elected as one of 435 members of Congress."