Retired Gen. Don Bolduc dropped out of the New Hampshire GOP state vice chairman’s race Wednesday morning, leaving two candidates vying for the post.

“I’m announcing today I will not be seeking the vice chair position of the @NHGOP,” Bolduc tweeted. “After traveling thousands of miles on the campaign trail the last three years, I’m looking forward to spending time with Sharon and the grandkids. God Bless America and Live Free or Die!!!”

Bolduc, who won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in September but lost the general election to incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan, was the first candidate to declare for the vice chairman’s job. The party will pick a new chair and vice chair at the state GOP meeting on January 28. Longtime GOP activist Christine Peters and state Board of Education member Ryan Terrell remain in the race.

Republican National Committeeman Chris Ager and seacoast businessman Lou Gargiulo are running for the state chair job.

Bolduc’s decision to get out of the contest was almost as unexpected as his decision to get in. Bolduc is best known for his shoot-from-the-hip political style and his tireless town hall schedule during his Senate run. Party organization and fundraising weren’t highlights of his campaign.

“I just don’t see Gen. Bolduc as ‘vice’ anything,” one Republican activist told NHJournal. “Why does he want this job?”

Bolduc was expected to appear at a Belknap County GOP meeting Tuesday night with other candidates for the two state party positions. “I spoke to him earlier that day and he was planning to come,” said Gargiulo. “When he didn’t show up, I was surprised. Not long after I heard he was dropping out.”

Gargiulo, Ager, and Terrell attended, and Gargiulo said the county meeting went well for all the candidates who showed up. “The reception was very positive. People had good questions for us, and I think they were pleased to see that we both conducted ourselves in a professional manner — no backbiting or name-calling.”

Asked about the idea of running as a ticket with a vice chair candidate, Gargiulo said no, and he noted that there’s still plenty of time for more candidates to enter both races.

According to the state party rules, “Officer Candidacy Notice is due by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, January 25, 2023.”

Peters was traveling out of state and couldn’t make the Belknap County meeting. Asked about Bolduc’s decision, Peters told NHJournal, “General Bolduc has worked tirelessly campaigning for US Senate, and I admire his perseverance and dedication to reaching NH citizens at the grassroots level. I wish him the best as he spends well-deserved time with family.”

Peters is Vice Chair of the Souhegan Cooperative School Board and a Director of the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women.

Terrell declined to comment.