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Rodney Wren withdraws from race for 83rd District

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, July 11, 2012, at 1:37 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, July 11, 2012, at 4:13 p.m.

Rodney Wren, a Republican candidate for representative in District 83 in east Wichita, announced Wednesday that he had suspended his campaign. He said it was because of attacks on him and his fiancee.

“My primary opponent and his supporters have made the centerpiece of his campaign an attack on my integrity and my fiancee’s integrity,” Wren said in a statement. The debate teacher at Wichita Collegiate School said he had not been able to raise money or “formulate a message based on substance instead of constant defense” of his “personal life choices.”

Wren’s Republican-primary opponent is Tim Garvey. Also running to replace Rep. Jo Ann Pottorff, R-Wichita, who is retiring, is Democrat Carolyn Bridges.

“I don’t know where this is coming from,” Garvey said of Wren’s remarks. “I haven’t attacked him whatsoever. I can’t help with what my supporters may or may not do. I don’t think they’re doing anything. They definitely aren’t lying about anything.”

At one time, Garvey was Wren’s campaign treasurer; he said he quit because Wren “was being dishonest with me.

“I witnessed him several times going to his apartment outside the district,” Garvey said.

Wren did not return a call Wednesday requesting further comment.

Wren’s candidacy was challenged earlier this year by his fiancee’s former sister-in-law, Eileen Murtha, who claimed that Wren didn’t live in District 83 District. A three-member panel rejected the complaint in May, accepting Wren’s explanation that he had lived in the district at the home of his fiancee, Holly Murtha, since July 2, 2011. He said he was keeping his apartment outside the district as an office until the lease was up.

Both Wren and Garvey spoke at the hearing in May, with Wren telling the panel members that there were "personal issues that surround this situation." He asked that the hearing be held in private, but the panel opened it to the public.

"The sad thing is now a campaign has been smeared by a disgruntled family, because Holly Murtha is in a relationship and they don’t like it,” Wren told the panel at the time.

In his statement, he said he plans to go to law school to help “upstanding candidates get elected in order to effectuate real change.”

“I don’t want to bring down the Republican Party, so now is simply my time to fade into the shadows,” he said in the statement.

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