Ed Marksberry announced Wednesday that he will no longer try to get on the ballot in Kentucky's U.S. Senate election as an independent.
Marksberry, an Owensboro contractor, said in a statement that he had collected only half of the 5,000 signatures needed to run as an independent. With the Aug. 12 deadline looming to submit the signatures, Marksberry said his health has prevented him from getting the full amount.
"I was not successful in raising the funds needed to hire others to help me collect the signatures, and there is a lesson there," Marksberry wrote in an email message.
Marksberry had previously sought the Democratic nomination in the race but withdrew last year. He accused representatives of Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes' campaign of trying to bribe him to withdraw from the race, a charge the campaign has denied.
Marksberry has been intensely critical of Grimes' efforts to portray herself as conservative on issues such as coal and guns, bemoaning the absence of a true liberal in the race to unseat U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
"My campaign was never about winning," Marksberry said in the email. "It was about the lack of a progressive voice that is needed to move Kentucky forward (so far this conservative mind-set hasn't served the majority of Kentuckians very well)."
Sam Youngman: (502) 875-3793. Twitter: @samyoungman. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.