Arizona Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes backed out of a possible run for the U.S. House on Thursday, making her at least the eighth Republican to take a pass on the open seat in Arizona's 1st Congressional District.
Mayes had formed an exploratory committee and had raised $90,000.
"I took a very close look at the race and decided that now wasn't the time," she said. "Ultimately, I decided that the best place for me is where I already am - at the Corporation Commission."
The congressional seat is currently held by Republican Rick Renzi, who was indicted in February on 35 criminal counts, including conspiracy, money-laundering, extortion and insurance fraud. Renzi has withdrawn from all of his committee assignments and is not seeking re-election.
Democrats see the seat as their best opportunity to capture the majority of Arizona's eight U.S. House seats. Democrats gained a 4-4 split after winning two new seats in 2006.
For the moment, the lone bona fide GOP candidate is Munds Park resident Sydney Hay, the president of the Arizona Mining Association and a former talk radio show host.
Meanwhile, five Democrats already are running. They are gay rights advocate Jeffrey Brown; former state Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick; former U.S. House aide Jeff Riley; lawyer Howard Shanker; and former TV reporter Mary Kim Titla.
Several factors are working against new Republicans entering the race:
The general election is just seven months away.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has struggled to raise money and pay off old debt since 2006, making it unlikely that it would inject any significant money into the race.
Renzi's public corruption trial is scheduled for October, in the heart of campaign season.