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Bivens drops out, leaving Carmona sole Dem seeking Senate seat

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Bivens drops out, leaving Carmona sole Dem seeking Senate seat

Don Bivens, a former chair of the state party, has dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate from Arizona.

The move leaves former Surgeon General Richard Carmona as the lone Democrat running to fill the seat being left open by the retiring Republican Sen. Jon Kyl.

Bivens made the announcement in a Wednesday morning email to supporters.

"The continuing head-to-head competition of our Democratic primary is draining resources that we will need as a party to win this open seat in November," he said. "While I am confident we would win this primary, the cost and impact on the Party that I have spent my life fighting for could diminish the chance to achieve our ultimate goal of winning in November."

"A long and contentious primary will detract from our overriding mission to put middle class families first on the national agenda," Bivens said. "The greater good is at stake here.  For this reason I have decided to step aside from the 2012 Senate race."

Carmona thanked Bivens for his service to the party in a press release.

"An agent of change for our state, Don knew how great of an opportunity we have to win this seat and knew that it would take a strong and united effort to do so," Carmona said. "He and his team ran a strong race that showed a great deal of respect for the nominating process...."

Bivens "will be an integral player in any winning strategy and I look forward to working with him in the months ahead," Carmona said.

National Democrats praised Bivens for dropping out.

"Don Bivens is a great leader in our party," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid." He has an impressive record as a businessman and public servant, and his campaign was focused on the issues that matter most to the middle class. I am heartened that Don has decided to focus his time and energy on reelecting the President and helping Democrats succeed in Arizona up and down the ballot. I look forward to working with him."

U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake and businessman Wil Cardon are running on the Republican side.

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