ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Leah Phifer says she won’t run in a crowded Democratic primary to replace Rep. Rick Nolan.

Phifer was among the first candidates in the 8th Congressional District race, challenging Nolan for the party nomination before the third-term lawmaker decided to retire. Phifer is a former counterterrorism analyst who ran primarily on environmental issues like opposing copper mining projects on the Iron Range.

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(credit: Leah Phifer For Congress)

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She had been considered a front runner in the race but announced Wednesday she would not run in a primary. Northeastern Minnesota Democrats held a convention over the weekend but failed to endorse a candidate after 10 ballots.

Her decision may be welcome news to some party leaders who worried that a five-way Democratic primary would hobble Democrats in a competitive election. Republican Pete Stauber is running unopposed.

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