(CNN) - One of the two candidates in a Democratic party family feud that resulted in a rare Republican congressional victory in Hawaii says he's giving up his quest to return to the House of Representatives.
Former Rep. Ed Case announced Sunday that he's dropping his bid for the state's first congressional district, which the GOP captured in a special election nine days ago - the party's first win in a House or Senate election in Hawaii in nearly two decades.
"My heart tells me to stay in this fight, but my head says this has become the wrong fight," said Case, in an e-mail to supporters and in a statement on his campaign website.
National Democrats attempted, without success, to convince either Case or Hawaii State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa to drop out of the May 22 special election, held to fill the seat of former Rep. Neil Abercrombie, the longtime Democratic congressman who stepped down earlier this year to run for governor.
Both candidates stayed in the race, splitting the vote, and allowing Honolulu city councilman Charles Djou, a Republican, to capture the plurality of the only-winner take all contest with less than 40 percent of the vote. Hanabusa, considered the more liberal candidate, came in second and Case, the more moderate Democrat, finished third. Combined, they won 58 percent of the vote.
National Democratic Party organizations favored Case but did not formally endorse either of their party's candidates. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ran ads that criticized Djou. But earlier this month, after it was clear neither candidate would drop out, the DCCC stopped spending any more money or time on the race.
Djou now has to defend the seat in November, most likely against Hanabusa, who called Case's decision a "magnanimous gesture."
The seat includes Honolulu and some surrounding suburbs. President Barack Obama, who spent parts of his childhood in the district, won 70 percent of the vote in the 2008 presidential election.
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