updated 1/14/2010 11:59:54 AM ET 2010-01-14T16:59:54

Former congressman Tom Campbell says he is dropping his longshot bid for governor in California and instead will challenge for Barbara Boxer's U.S. Senate seat.

In a letter sent Thursday to donors and other supporters, the Republican says political pragmatism forced him from a race in which he was squeezed between two mega-rich opponents.

Campbell has had difficulty attracting donors and raising his profile in the gubernatorial contest. His exit leaves former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Poizner to battle for the GOP nomination.

Campbell has scheduled a morning news conference at a Los Angeles hotel to formally announce his decision.

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