Pat McKinney is dropping out of the Republican race for lieutenant governor.
Campaign manager Taylor Hall confirmed McKinney is quitting the race. A recount had been planned to determine whether he or Mike Campbell would face first-place finisher Henry McMaster in the June 24 runoff.
Hall said McKinney and his wife recently lost parents, which has weighed on both, and that the decision to exit was personal, not political.
"He gave it everything he had," of the recent race, Hall said.
McKinney he said is ready to go back to being a husband, father and grandfather.
The second-place finisher in the four-way Republican race likely would not have be made official until at least Saturday.
Unofficial results of Tuesday's primary show less than 1 percentage point separating McKinney, a retired Kiawah Island developer, and Mike Campbell, son of the late Gov. Carroll Campbell. Both received about 24 percent of the vote, with McKinney slightly leading.
An automatic recount would have begun Friday.
McMaster received 44 percent of the vote. He was endorsed Thursday by fourth-place finisher Ray Moore, a retired Army chaplain.
McKinney had been the first Republican candidate to jump into the race last fall, but the field became more crowded just before the filing period opened in March.
The winner of the GOP race will face Democrat Bakari Sellers in November.