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Lautenberg Challenger Drops Out Of Race

The Republican party’s leading recruit to challenge Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) withdrew from the race this morning after announcing that she suffered from a mini-stroke earlier in the week.

In a statement released this morning, real estate developer Anne Estabrook said she was rushed to the hospital on Monday night after she felt that she was losing control of her left arm. While she said she hadn’t “suffered any long-term consequences” as a result of the mini-stroke, she announced she would be unable to continue the campaign.

“As important as it is to me to stay in this race, I am, unfortunately, all too familiar with the seriousness of this particular condition,” Estabrook said in a statement.

“Make no mistake, until Monday I was ready to fight for the Republican nomination and the chance to defeat Frank Lautenberg. I have never backed down from a fight and I am convinced we would have been successful.”

Estabrook’s exit from the race leaves the Republican party scrambling to find a suitable replacement. She had already loaned her campaign nearly $2 million, and her deep pockets made her an attractive challenger.

State assemblyman Joe Pennacchio and libertarian activist Murray Sabrin are also running in the primary, but neither is viewed as strong candidates against Lautenberg.

The deadline for candidates to qualify for the ballot in New Jersey is on April 7.