NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - The race for New York City mayor just got a little less crowded on the Republican side. GOP Candidate Paul Massey dropped out just hours after a debate.
Massey had already raised $3 million, more than any other mayoral candidate this cycle--even surpassing Mayor Bill de Blasio. The millionaire Republican challenger often stated that his campaign would never suffer from a lack of funds, so bowing out of the race sent shockwaves throughout the city's political circles.
Although Massey raised $3 million, he already spent about $2 million of it and also loaned himself another $3 million of his own money. In a statement, the GOP challenger wrote, "Unfortunately, the cost of running for office is extraordinary, and I do not see a path to raising the necessary funds to beat an incumbent mayor."
However, his statement came just a few hours after he said, "I'm here because New York urgently needs new leadership at City Hall. I'm the one candidate in this race with both the experience and the vision to deliver."
At a Crain's New York business debate Wednesday morning, Massey took on Republican mayoral candidate Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who represents Staten Island and a small portion of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Both strongly criticized de Blasio.
"It's very hard to pinpoint one failure that this mayor has exhibited, but his failure to plan long-term economic growth for the city is one of them," Malliotakis said.
"The evidence of our declining quality of life is everywhere you look. Here is, in a nutshell, is the problem: Bill de Blasio is a professional politician," Massey said.
Massey's drop-out now leaves Malliotakis as the clear frontrunner for the GOP nomination.
Malliotakis released a statement in response to Massey dropping out, "I will now be able to focus all my energies on defeating Bill de Blasio in the November election. I will challenge him on how he is running New York City into the ground."
Private investigator Bo Dietl, an independent, is also running for mayor.
Not surprisingly, Mayor de Blasio is the favorite for the Democratic primary. His main competition on the Democratic ticket is Sal Albanese, a former City Council member, and Bob Gangi, a police reform advocate.