BROOKSVILLE — The Republican challenging U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite in the GOP primary is suspending his campaign after being sidelined by a serious back injury.
Jim King, 52, of Land O'Lakes said Wednesday that he is considering dropping out of the race but won't make that final determination until consulting with doctors next week.
"I have had to cancel everything and suspend all campaign activity," King wrote in an e-mail. "I do not see the (neurologist) until Monday to do a full review of all options at that point."
King, who has said he is a retired medical professor, injured his back last week, possibly suffering two herniated discs. He canceled his campaign appearances during the weekend and went to see a doctor Tuesday afternoon.
Hernando County elections chief Annie Williams said King's name would appear on the Aug. 26 primary ballot regardless.
Brown-Waite of Brooksville said on Wednesday that she understands her opponent's pain. She had back surgery in 1995.
"I do know how debilitating back pain can be and I wish him the best," she said.
King's campaign offers a unique challenge to the three-term incumbent. In past elections, Brown-Waite has easily defeated Democratic challengers but this is the first time she has faced competition from within her party.
King, who has run for office at least four times under different party banners, is attempting to stake out a position to the right of the sometimes moderate Brown-Waite. For months now he has run advertisements on local radio bashing her record.
John Frank can be reached at email@example.com or (352) 754-6114.