Retired Associated Press political writer Quane Kenyon Sr. withdrew Tuesday from Idaho's District 15 Republican primary, leaving challenger Diego Rodriguez in a head-to-head with GOP Sen. Fred Martin.
Kenyon, a friend of Martin who supported him in 2012, said he entered the race thinking he would divide the opposition to Martin and increase the freshman senator's chances of winning renomination in the May 20 primary.
"I did something stupid and undid it," Kenyon said, adding that he continues to support Martin. "I did, and I do."
Rodriguez, 36, moved to his West Boise address in 2011, and used to live in Fresno, Calif.
"I don't like that California guy," Kenyon said.
Rodriguez emceed Sen. Russ Fulcher's announcement in November, helping kick off the Meridian lawmaker's challenge to two-term Gov. Butch Otter.
"It's time for new leadership in this state that actually represents the people and not the good old boys network," Rodriguez told the crowd. "It is time to put an end to the era of career politicians."
Martin, 63, supports Otter and voted for his state-run health insurance exchange law the issue Fulcher says convinced him to run.
Martin narrowly defeated Democrat Betty Richardson in 2012. The winner of the Martin-Rodriguez primary will face Democrat Richard Keller in November; Keller received 41 percent of the vote against GOP Rep. Lynn Luker in 2012.
Rodriguez is a motivational speaker and marketing consultant who has made an early start to his campaign, erecting signs and sending out at least one five-page mailer.
Kenyon, 75, said he had intended to raise the issue of falling state support for higher education. "I wanted a platform, but I never really was going to go through with it," he said. "It was a bad idea."
For 26 years, Kenyon reported for The Associated Press in Boise. After retiring in 1999, he was appointed by GOP Gov. Dirk Kempthorne to the Idaho Board of Health and Welfare, a rule-making and advisory body. In 2013, Martin appointed Kenyon to serve for three days in the Senate during Martin's absence.