COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — State Rep. Bobby Nardolillo announced Thursday that he has withdrawn from the U.S. Senate race.
His announcement comes hours after former R.I. Supreme Court Associate Justice Bob Flanders received the Rhode Island Republican Party’s endorsement at the organization’s statewide convention Wednesday night.
Flanders will challenge Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse for the Senate seat he first won in 2006.
Nardolillo said his greatest challenge was raising enough funds, noting that Whitehouse has more than $3 million in his campaign war chest.
The two-term state representative also said he’s throwing his support behind Flanders in hopes he can unseat Whitehouse in the November election.
“My objective all along was to remove Sen. Whitehouse from office,” Nardolillo said in a statement. “So the best thing I can do now, to benefit all Rhode Islanders, is to stand aside and permit a full throated Republican Campaign against the incumbent to be conducted.”
“I would like to commend Mr. Nardolillo, my Republican primary opponent, for his statesmanship and grace,” Flanders said in response. “He is a dedicated public servant with a bright future and Rhode Island will be well served by his leadership in the coming years.”
The Republican convention also endorsed Allan Fung for governor, Pat Cortellessa for secretary of state, Michael Riley for general treasurer and Sal Caiozzo for the 1st Congressional District. No endorsement was made in the race for lieutenant governor pitting Karl Wadensten against Paul Pence.
Nardolillo has represented House District 28 in Coventry since 2014. He is a member of the House Committee on Oversight and the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.
Several candidates are still in the race against Whitehouse, who has received the Democratic Party’s endorsement. “Rocky” De la Fuente is also seeking the Republican nomination while Patricia Fontes is running as a Democrat and Raymond McKay is running as an Independent.
The Rhode Island primary will be held on Sept. 12.