LINCOLN — State Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton dropped out of the race for governor Monday, citing the toll the campaign was taking on her family.
The announcement left Democrats with one gubernatorial candidate, Chuck Hassebrook, a former University of Nebraska regent from Lyons.
Party Chairman Vince Powers said he does not anticipate others will jump into the race now.
“There isn't even a rumor about a rumor about someone else wanting to run,” he said. “I think we have a unified party now that is 100 percent behind a very good candidate.”
Dubas announced her decision in an emotional statement to reporters. Her husband joined her for the State Capitol press conference.
She took no questions.
“While my belief in this candidacy and what I stood for never wavered, it became apparent to me that campaign life was taking its toll on me and my family,” she said.
Hassebrook thanked Dubas for her public service and wished her well, according to Meg Mandy, his campaign spokeswoman.
“Now we can really focus on winning in November,” she said.
Powers said Dubas' candidacy had energized the Nebraska Democratic Party, and having competition had forced both campaigns to work at raising money, finding volunteers and getting organized.
It has been several years since the Democrats had a strong gubernatorial primary.
On the Republican side, five men are competing for the party nomination. They are: State Auditor Mike Foley, Omaha businessman Pete Ricketts and State Sens. Charlie Janssen of Fremont, Tom Carlson of Holdrege and Beau McCoy of Omaha. A sixth person — Omaha tax attorney Bryan Slone — is considering a bid.
Dubas campaign staffer Chris Triebsch said Dubas would answer questions later about endorsing Hassebrook and about what to do with the campaign funds she raised.
Dubas, 57, got into the race in August. In her Monday announcement, she thanked supporters.
“Your outpouring of support and encouragement touched my heart and gave me the motivation to go out each day and work hard on the campaign trail,” she said.
However, she said, campaigning for statewide office proved more demanding than she expected.
“It became harder and harder to attend to family matters, serve my legislative constituents and campaign for governor,” she said.
Triebsch said Dubas contemplated the withdrawal for about a week. He said there was no specific event that precipitated her decision and no illness or injury in the family.
Dubas has served in the Legislature seven years and leads its Transportation and Telecommunications Committee.
She has worked on issues such as the Keystone XL pipeline, child welfare and the state's problem-prone call centers for public benefits applications.
Dubas and her husband have been in farming and ranching for decades.