- Associated Press - Thursday, June 29, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) - A millionaire real estate executive challenging incumbent New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for office has unexpectedly dropped out of the race.

Republican Paul Massey had been rivaling the Democratic mayor in fundraising, but cited the main reason for his withdrawal on Wednesday was the cost of running against an incumbent.

Massey’s departure from the Republican primary leaves Staten Island Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis as the front-runner to win the nomination and challenge de Blasio in the 2017 general election.

Massey suspended his campaign hours after appearing at a Wednesday breakfast debate with Malliotakis, where he claimed the city’s low crime statistics had been “fudged.”

Massey says he had decided to drop out in recent weeks and told his some of his staff Tuesday about the planned withdrawal.

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