Lancaster pharmacist Hugh Mobley said he is dropping out of the race for the S.C. Senate District 16 seat.
Special elections are scheduled for February and April to elect a successor to Mick Mulvaney, who gave up the seat after unseating incumbent U.S. Rep. John Spratt in November.
Mobley, who has Type 1 diabetes, cited his health as the reason he's withdrawing. He said he has kept the diabetes under control for more than a decade through proper monitoring and eating habits, but in the last few weeks his sugar levels have been out of control.
"I was working 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and had some early, small problems, but used adjustment measures to make changes," said Mobley, a Republican.
"When we got past Thanksgiving, I started having more problems and I couldn't get my sugar levels controlled, and when you don't control them it's a cascade of events."
Complications for Type 1 diabetics can include heart disease, kidney damage and blindness.
Mobley had raised more than $40,000 for the race. Contributions will be returned to donors, he said, along with a letter explaining his withdrawal.
"A lot of people say they are disappointed, and I say, 'You're no more disheartened than I am,'" Mobley said.
Mobley's decision was made slightly easier when he spoke to friend and former state Sen. Greg Gregory, who plans to run for the District 16 seat.
"Knowing Greg shares the same feelings of betterment of the community and helping people, when he indicated he might step in, that made me feel better," said Mobley, who added he would support Gregory.
"I really feel like Greg has the experience, the integrity, the focus on what's important at a local and a state level to be the senator."
Gregory left the S.C. Senate in 2008 after 16 years.
Five other Republicans and one Libertarian have expressed interest in the seat.
Primary special elections are scheduled for Feb. 22, with a runoff March 8, if necessary. The general election is scheduled for April 12.
The winner will complete two years left on Mulvaney's four-year term.
District 16 runs in a narrow stretch from rural southern Lancaster County into Fort Mill, including Baxter Village.