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Dorothy Hukill, a Republican state senator who has represented parts of Volusia County in the Florida Legislature since 2004, is dropping out of the state Senate race due to an aggressive return of the cancer she’s been fighting for two years.

“Unfortunately, I have recently experienced an aggressive recurrence of this cancer. Along with my family, I have made the difficult decision to enter hospice care and no longer seek treatment for this disease,” Hukill wrote in a statement. “As a result, I will no longer be seeking re-election this November.”

A Port Orange resident, Hukill, 72, was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2004, where she served until 2012.

She made the move to the Florida Senate that year, besting Frank Bruno in the 2012 election. Hukill represented the 8th District until 2016, when redistricting moved her to the 14th District, which covers most of DeLand, Deltona, Port Orange, New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater, and the northern half of Brevard County.

In this year’s election, she was set to face Democratic candidate Mel Martin.

“I have so enjoyed serving you and the people of Florida,” Hukill’s statement continued. “I have been honored by your friendship and the trust you have placed in me, from my very first term serving on the Ponce Inlet Town Council to the past six years in the Florida Senate.”

Meanwhile, Martin expressed her sympathy for Hukill.

“While we have only had the opportunity to meet in person a few times, please know you have always had my respect and admiration,” she wrote in a statement. “The news today sent shockwaves of sadness; a surreal moment where the reality of our fragile humanity stomps the notion of party politics into the dirt.”

The Republican Party of Florida has seven days to find and name a replacement candidate to face Martin, according to state law.

However, since results of the Aug. 28 primary election have already been certified, the November ballot will still feature Hukill’s name. Any votes for Hukill will be counted for the replacement candidate/

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