Marty Block drops re-election fight against Toni Atkins

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SAN DIEGO — What was shaping up to be a brutal campaign among Democrats for a state Senate seat in San Diego came to an abrupt end Thursday when incumbent Marty Block announced he will is ending his run for re-election.

Block made his announcement on the Senate floor, saying he will pursue other opportunities.

The former San Diego State University professor was facing a challenge from Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, who is being termed out of the Legislature’s lower chamber.

“Since I first announced I was running for reelection last year, the debates between Speaker Atkins and me have repeatedly demonstrated that we have very similar progressive positions on issues,” Block said in a statement.

“It logically follows that we can best advance a progressive Democratic agenda both in San Diego and in the Capitol by working together,” he said. “In the last few days since our most recent debates, this has become clear to me.”

Both candidates were building up lists of endorsements.

On Tuesday, Block touted support he had received from numerous Democratic clubs around the his district.

Atkins, meanwhile, said she’d gained backing from the California Nurses Association. On Saturday, she held a news conference to tout the support she was receiving from several women who held elective office.

She said she was surprised at Block’s decision.

“What is no surprise to me, having appeared at so many campaign events with him recently, is how much Marty Block believes in the state Senate and its ability to do good for the people of the 39th District,” Atkins said.

“Our community has been beyond fortunate to have had some great state senators, including Lucy Killea, Dede Alpert, and my mentor, Chris Kehoe,” she said. “Marty Block was a fitting member of that line-up. I will work very hard to measure up to the standards they all set.”

Block said that after 26 years in higher education and 24 years in elective office, he’s “eager to pursue new opportunities” to promote the values he favors.

The district includes most of the city of San Diego north of state Route 94, the cities of Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach, and parts of unincorporated Rancho Santa Fe.

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