Former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and 1984 Law School graduate John Hanger announced Thursday that he would no longer be pursuing the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor.

In a statement released Thursday morning, Hanger's campaign said that there was "no longer a path to victory" for the candidate in the Democratic primary. The statement said that while the decision to withdraw from the race was a great disappointment to Hanger, "to press on could cause damage to the issues and people for which we campaigned.”

Hanger said he had three goals at the outset of his campaign: to propose innovative policies to strengthen Pennsylvania and its citizens, to win the Democratic Primary, and to “end the long nightmare" of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's administration.

Although he will not achieve his second goal, Hanger said he was proud of the policy proposals his campaign put forth - especially those regarding education, environmental regulation and marijuana reform - and how they helped to shape the policy dialogue in the Democratic field.

Hanger's advocacy for the legalization of marijuana was the most progressive stance among the Democratic candidates, with his plan calling on the immediate authorization of medicinal marijuana and the eventual legalization and regulation of the substance.

“As to the goal of defeating Governor Corbett,” Hanger's statement said, “the Democratic candidates today are in a great position to hand Governor Corbett his eviction papers from the Governor's office ... both because of the strength of the Democratic gubernatorial field and his incredible political weakness.”

Hanger’s withdrawal leaves five candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in the May primary. These candidates are State Treasurer and 1989 Wharton MBA graduate Robert McCord, former Pennsylvania Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, former State Auditor General Jack Wagner and former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Katie McGinty.

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