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Redwood City mayor suddenly ends campaign for Peninsula Assembly seat

PIX Now 08:57

REDWOOD CITY – Redwood City Mayor Giselle Hale announced Friday that she is suspending her campaign for the Assembly this fall, citing the impact running for the seat has had on her family.

"I saw how deeply this race impacted the mental health and happiness of my husband and our two daughters," Hale said in a statement to supporters. "The decision to end this campaign will be perceived in many ways by many people, but it comes down to choosing the three most influential people in my life."

Mayor Giselle Hale City of Redwood City

In an accompanying series of Twitter posts, the Redwood City mayor noted the toll of what she described as a "$1.2M special interest smear campaign" in the run-up to the June primary, noting attack ads and mailers even reached her two young children.

"My five-year-old was regularly served one of my opponents' attack ads while watching a YouTube kids' show; and my eight-year-old told me that a classmate brought a negative mailer to school. They couldn't comprehend grown ups doing such things," Hale said.

"While I could compartmentalize the lies and attacks and keep driving – it was impossible for my family not to be impacted," Hale went on to say. "You don't have to look hard in politics to find people willing to do or say anything to get elected. But that's not me."

Hale was set to face off against San Mateo Vice Mayor Diane Papan for the 21st Assembly District this November after squeaking by in the crowded primary election, setting up a contest between two Democrats. The seat became open after incumbent Assemblymember Kevin Mullin decided to run for Congress to succeed retiring Rep. Jackie Speier.

In a field of seven candidates, Hale placed second with 19,400 votes, only 322 votes more than third place candidate Mark Gilham, a Republican. Papan took the top spot in the primary with 40,434 votes.

First elected to the Redwood City Council in 2018, Hale previously served on the city's planning commission. She has also worked at Facebook and served on campaigns for President Barack Obama and Rep. Anna Eshoo, according to a biography on the city's website.

Hale's term as mayor expires in November.

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