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GOP Senate candidate Chavez drops out of race

In a surprise move, Republican candidate Rocky Chavez announced at a KOGO radio debate Monday night that he is withdrawing from the U.S. Senate race.

With two other top GOP candidates in the debate standing by, Chavez said he will seek re-election to his state Assembly seat instead.

The Sacramento Bee posted video of the moment, which you can see below.

Chavez explained the decision on his campaign Facebook page.

Facebook post

In the post, he writes, "Today, I am closing my campaign for the United States Senate. I believe that I can best serve my state and community in 2016 by running for my current seat as the Assembly member of the 76th Assembly district.

"I will continue to champion our veterans, solutions to our state's drought, long-term energy solutions, and making sure our children and grandchildren have access to a world class education system from preschool to college."

Chavez and other GOP candidates were widely expected to be overshadowed by Democrats Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez in the race to succeed U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Chavez represents the 76th Assembly District covering Oceanside, Camp Pendleton, Carlsbad, Encinitas and Vista. He was first elected to the Assembly in 2012.

This story has been updated.