The Associated Press is reporting former DEP Secretary John Hanger has decided to drop out of the race for the Democratic nomination for Governor.
His political director, Roger Cohen, confirmed Thursday that the Democrat will announce his decision at a Capitol news conference.
Hanger, who became the first Democrat to enter the race when he announced his candidacy in November 2012, is a former state environmental protection secretary and former state utility regulator. As a candidate, he was a vocal advocate of legalizing marijuana and taxing its sale.
In a statement, Hanger said the nomination "slipped beyond our reach," because front-runner Tom Wolf's "startlingly effective" TV campaign gave the York businessman a significant edge in the race. He said the remaining candidates are excellent and that the prospect of ousting Republican Gov. Tom Corbett remains clearly in sight.
Hanger's exit from the race leaves five candidates in the Democratic primary: Wolf, state Treasurer Rob McCord, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, former DEP Secretary Katie McGinty and former state Auditor General Jack Wagner.
Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz dropped out of the race earlier in the week.
The news website PoliticsPA was the first to report that Hanger was leaving the race.NewsClip: Hanger Quitting Democratic Race For Governor