DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Waterloo Democratic Rep. Ras Smith announced he will suspend his campaign for Iowa governor.

Smith, who in June 2021 became the first person to announce his run for governor, on Wednesday cited a “drastic disconnect between the current political system and the people” in explaining his decision to drop his campaign.

“When my team and I launched my campaign for governor last summer, we invited all Iowans to join our movement with the message “come as you are.” We believe that there is a place for everyone in our collective vision for the future of Iowa.

And over the past seven months, you have welcomed me into your homes, your communities, your struggles, and your aspirations. You have allowed me to come as I am, and it’s been a privilege. Knowing you better has helped me to know Iowa better and love Iowa more. It has reaffirmed for me the magnitude of mission-driven work that lies ahead to ensure Iowa is a state where all of us can not just survive — but thrive.

Unfortunately, this process has also exposed a drastic disconnect between the current political system and the people. I have come to the heartbreaking conclusion that there are barriers that one campaign cannot overcome, no matter how hard we work or how faithfully we represent the majority of hardworking Iowans.

Today I am announcing the suspension of my campaign for Governor of Iowa. I am profoundly grateful to our countless friends, supporters, and donors, and invite you to stay connected as we continue to work to bring meaningful change to this state. My faith guides me in not being tethered to an outcome, but instead to remain committed to the work.

I return to the Iowa Legislature next week where I will focus on continuing to amplify the voice of the people. I strongly believe that people are Iowa’s greatest resource. As I’ve traveled the state, my team and I have heard over and over that Iowans want leaders with shared experiences and who understand working class challenges. What they do not want is the most wealthy and elite to be solely at the table making decisions on their behalf.

We have a lot of work to do, Iowa. And I’m here for it.”

Representative Ras Smith – Iowa (D)

Smith is serving his third term representing an area of Black Hawk County. He has chaired the Legislative Black Caucus. His decision leaves Deidre DeJear as the highest-profile Democrat remaining in the race.

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds hasn’t announced her plans but is expected to seek reelection.