- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A Cedar Rapids businessman says he’s ending his race for the Democratic nomination in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District.

Ravi Patel announced on his website Tuesday that he was dropping out of the race for the northeast Iowa congressional seat now held by first-term Republican Rod Blum.

Two other Democrats are seeking the party’s nomination, and Patel says his candidacy would have ensured a difficult race that would have hurt the eventual nominee.

Patel, who is president of Hawkeye Hotels, a group of Midwest hotels, says he could best serve the public through his work in the private sector.

The other Democrats seeking the seat are Cedar Rapids Councilwoman Monica Vernon and Gary Kroeger, of Cedar Falls.

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