Citing the strain of running a campaign, a Democrat running for a New River Valley-area House of Delegates seat withdrew from the race Monday.

Todd Fearer was trying to unseat Del. Nick Rush, R-Christiansburg, who is running for a fifth term to represent Floyd County and part of Montgomery and Pulaski counties. Health care advocate Rhonda Seltz will seek the Democratic nomination to replace Fearer.

Fearer is the coordinator of the Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture, a regional partnership of state and federal agencies, organizations and universities focused on conservation in the Appalachian region. The partnership is located on Virginia Tech’s campus within the university’s Conservation Management Institute.

Fearer said he had been mulling ending his campaign for the past few weeks.

“When I decided to run for office, I spent about a year researching what the campaign would entail to try to best prepare myself for the sacrifices and stress I knew it would create for myself and my family,” Fearer said in a statement. “In spite of that preparation, the demands of trying to balance the needs of my family, a full-time job, and my campaign are taking a mental and physical toll on me and my family that is not sustainable.”

A committee of local Democratic leaders selected a caucus as the method to pick the party’s nominee. The caucus will be held on June 8 at 2 p.m. in the Montgomery County Government Center.

Seltz, of Riner, works as a community outreach coordinator for the state Department of Medical Assistance Services and as adjunct instructor in Radford University’s School of Social Work. She’s a Pulaski County native.

Elsewhere, Libertarian Dean Davison announced on Monday he was suspending his campaign. Davison was running against Del. Terry Austin, R-Botetourt, who is seeking a third term to represent Covington, Alleghany County and parts of Bedford and Botetourt counties.

Davison said his father was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and he wanted to focus his attention on his family.

Austin is now running unopposed.

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Amy Friedenberger is the politics reporter for The Roanoke Times. She's been a reporter here since 2014. Previously, she worked for newspapers in Pennsylvania. Follow her on Twitter at @ajfriedenberger.

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