Arizona Treasurer Dean Martin said he suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination to run for governor late last week to avoid splitting the party as the state fights a federal lawsuit over its new immigration law.

Martin did not officially end his electoral effort, but campaign officials said he told workers that his race was over.

In his announcement, Martin did not endorse incumbent Gov. Jan Brewer, but said he supports the governor’s defense of the SB 1070 law that requires police officers to determine the immigration status of individuals and enforce federal immigration law.

“During a time when the Obama Administration has filed a frivolous lawsuit against our great state, a budget deficit is looming, and our economy is still shaky, I feel a contested primary would be a distraction,” Martin said.

“Gov. Brewer is going to need all our help to shoulder the burden of defending Arizona from the federal government,” he said. Martin said he will remain as treasurer until his term expires in December.

In June, Martin blamed Brewer for allowing the state’s $700 million line of credit with Bank of America to expire. He said the governor opted to meet with officials over enforcing SB 1070 rather than attend a meeting of the State Loan Commission to extend the line of credit.

Amy Bjelland, state elections director, said it is too late to remove Martin’s name from the Aug. 24 primary ballot. If Martin officially leaves the race before then votes for him would not be counted.

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