CHAPEL HILL – Former Chapel Hill Town Council member James Protzman is pulling out of the North Carolina Gubernatorial race. He made the announcement Wednesday via his website.

Protzman said he was the first to declare his candidacy and the first to pull out.

“As I got further and further into it, I sort of felt like, ‘Oh my God, what have I done?’ It’s just the most maddening, frustrating, terrible experience that anyone could ever want,” Protzman said. “I’m so in awe of people that can do it, but I’m clearly not one of them.”

In the spring, Protzman, a Democrat, announced his intention to run for governor in the 2016 election, two years earlier than most aspirants declare their candidacy.

“After almost seven months on the campaign trail, I’m sorry to report that it’s worse than I thought it would be.  Seeing how candidates have to maneuver to curry favor is sickening,” Protzman said on his website.

He added that the constant need to raise funds was taking its toll.

Protzman said one of his main reasons for running was frustration over legislation passed by the Republican-controlled legislature.

“If there’s ever an opportunity for Democrats to come on, it’s right now in response to the craziness of the Republican agenda,” Protzman said. “I’m looking for a progressive candidate who can defend progressive ideals, stand for progressive ideals, and fight for them.”

Moving forward, Protzman left a message of support for former State Rep. Kenneth Spaulding, a Democrat from Durham, though he said it is not an official endorsement.

“We have been drifting too far to the right, and we need someone to stand up and start pulling us back to the left,” Protzman said. “I think Ken may be a person who is able to do that.”

Protzman began his career as a midshipman at the United States NavalAcademy, according to his biography.  After graduation in 1972, he served as a Naval officer and was assigned to duty at CampLejeune. During that tour, he worked with the Army and Air Force units and completed more than twenty airborne operations.

In 1977, he went on to graduate school at UNC- Chapel Hill and then started his own business.

He was elected to the Chapel Hill Town Council in the early 1990’s, and served on numerous non profit boards over the past three decades.

Today, he works as a freelance writer and business consultant.