The only challenger for the 21st Assembly District seat has dropped out of the running, it was announced Monday.
Greg Opinski, 53, a construction company owner and a Merced Union High School District board member, said he will not challenge Adam Gray, D-Merced, in the June 7 race. He submitted paperwork in March to run but said he has had a change of heart.
“My business and personal circumstances have caused a reassessment of that conclusion,” he said Monday in a letter to the Sun-Star. “Because of those factors, I need to direct my time there. It is with great regret, I want to announce that I will not be conducting a campaign for the state Assembly at this time.”
He noted his name will remain on the ballot, but said he will not challenge Gray.
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“I want to thank those who have offered their support in this effort,” he wrote. “This is my decision, and mine alone. It would not be fair to them to continue in this campaign when I cannot devote the time needed to win.”
Gray, who was elected in 2012, will run unopposed in June.
Vote-by-mail ballots have already gone out and it’s too late for any candidate to have their name removed from the ballot, according to Barbara Levey, the Merced County registrar of voters.
Opinski has not submitted any campaign contribution reports, according to Merced County records. His campaign committee was terminated in April, according to the secretary of state’s office.
Gray raised $152,615 in the first part of this year, according to records, and he has $240,523 in his campaign bank account.
Gray could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon. His campaign manager, Mike Lynch, said he had heard only rumors in the community about Opinski dropping out of the race until getting a call Monday from the Sun-Star.
Lynch said Gray is confident about his record. Lynch emphasized that Gray submitted more than 2,500 signatures of registered voters to qualify as an Assembly candidate, in lieu of paying filing fees.
“Adam’s message is, ‘We have a good record. We work hard. We’re independent, and he’s going to keep doing that,’ ” Lynch said.
The 21st Assembly District is predominantly Democratic and includes Merced County and the southwest section of Stanislaus County, including parts of Modesto.
Modesto Bee Editor Victor Patton contributed to this report.