Former GOP state Sen. Randy Hopper today dropped out of the race for the 8th SD, saying he didn’t want to play a spoiler role in the crowded Republican field.

In dropping out, he endorsed Rep. Dan Knodl, R-Germantown, for the seat.

Hopper, who was recalled from his Fond du Lac area seat in 2011, announced earlier this month plans to run for the 8th SD in suburban Milwaukee, where he now lives.

But he said in a statement today the short time frame of the special election to replace former GOP Sen. Alberta Darling makes it “impossible” to mount a vigorous campaign.

“Worse, my candidacy threatens to act as a spoiler by splitting the vote and allowing a divisive fringe candidate to win the primary, putting at risk Republicans’ chances of holding the seat in the general election.  As someone who cares deeply about my state and my party, I cannot allow that,” Hopper said.

Along with Knodl, state Rep. Janel Brandtjen, Thiensville Village President Van Mobley and Concordia University student Roger Albrightson have announced plans to run as Republicans.

Of those, Mobley hadn’t registered with the state of this morning to run. The filing deadline for nomination papers is Tuesday.

Hopper’s statement didn’t specify which candidate he believed put the GOP’s chances at risk in the Republican-leaning seat. But insiders have suggested Dems’ chances of winning the seat with environmental attorney Jodi Habush Sinykin improve if Brandtjen is the GOP nominee.

Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, stripped Brandtjen of her role as Campaigns and Elections Committee chair and her Assembly GOP colleagues voted to bar her from closed caucus because they don’t trust her.

See the hopper release.

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