White House crasher’s gubernatorial run will continue as independent

Salahis at hearing

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – White House party crasher Tareq Salahi announced he has left the Republican Party’s gubernatorial nomination contest and will launch an independent bid for the office.

In a release posted to Salahi’s campaign web site Monday, “CrashTheVote.com,” Salahi said he will continue to run as a Republican, but will compile the 10,000 signatures needed on petitions to qualify him for November’s ballot on his own.

He can qualify for the ballot, but state law won’t allow him to label himself as a Republican.

[WATCH: Tareq Salahi says he’s challenging Ken Cuccinelli]

With Salahi’s bid out of the mix, the only declared Republican running for governor in the 2013 election is current Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Salahi’s decision came on the eve of the deadline for qualifying for the May convention in Richmond. He is the second Republican to back out of the GOP gubernatorial nomination sweepstakes. Last year Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling announced that he was withdrawing his bid.

Democrat Terry McAuliffe is unopposed so far for his party’s gubernatorial nomination in a June primary.

In 2009 Salahi and his then-wife, Michaele, gained international attention when they attended a White House state dinner uninvited.

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