GOP Senate Candidate Bows Out

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Republican Bart Baron on Tuesday withdrew from the race to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2006.

Baron, one of three GOP candidates, said a primary will make it tougher for a Republican to raise the money necessary to challenge Stabenow in the general election.

"I have decided to terminate my campaign and allow Reverend (Keith) Butler his best shot in this U.S. Senate race," Baron said in a statement provided to The Associated Press.

Baron's exit means there are two remaining GOP candidates: Butler, founding pastor of the 21,000-member nondenominational Word of Faith International Christian Center in Southfield; and the Rev. Jerry Zandstra of Cutlerville.

Baron, an industrial engineer from Troy, criticized the GOP's election strategy.

"In my attempts to bring a voice for labor to the Republican Party, I have come to the realization that the divide is just too great," Baron said. "The national leadership of the Republican Party has decided to run a campaign focused on moral issues and race. My campaign was focused on trade, jobs, outsourcing, health care and stopping illegal immigration."

In the past month, Domino's Pizza Inc. executive David Brandon and Jane Abraham, wife of former U.S. Sen. Spencer Abraham, have decided not to run for the Senate.