LOS ANGELES — California Democratic congressional candidate Aditya Pai, vying to unseat an incumbent Republican, appeared to suspend his campaign on Thursday, citing a “lack of joy” — before he suspended that suspension.
“Life is short. I believe one should enjoy their work. For the past four months, I have not enjoyed mine,” Pai’s campaign said in an email to supporters. He added that though his campaign is “going well,” his “heart is not quite in it.”
“My pursuit of office ends today,” read the email, which was titled “I am suspending my campaign today. Thank you for your support.”
But roughly eight hours later, Pai’s team sent out another email, this time titled “Apologies for the scare. I am not going anywhere.”
Both emails bore Pai’s signature. But in the second email, Pai said the suspension notice was erroneously sent to supporters by “a now-former aide,” although Pai did acknowledge that he had composed the message.
“I wrote that letter as an emotional processing exercise after an exhausting glimpse into the political machine,” Pai said. “I sent it to some mentors and staff for perspective before getting back to work; it was never supposed to be shared. Now that it was, I see a silver lining in your seeing it.”
“You should know the thought of calling it quits has occurred to me. Running is hard and sometimes painful: ‘an MRI for the soul,'” the second email read.
Pai said he will “absolutely NOT be suspending my campaign,” adding that his call to “service — not politics” supersedes the “emotional weight” of running for office.
Pai is among the four Democratic candidates running to oust incumbent Republican Rep. Michelle Steel, who represents California’s 45th congressional district. The district includes famed Los Angles landmarks such as Knotts Berry Farm, and it is one of the state’s rare swing districts. Pai’s race is expected to be notably competitive: In the last election, Steel narrowly defeated her democratic opponent, clinching victory by less than five percentage points.
Pai, concluding the second email, moved to assuage his supporters’ worries and reaffirm his stated commitment to his campaign.
“Rest assured: I am here to run, win, and serve you to the absolute best of my ability,” he wrote.
Michael Mitsanas reported from Los Angeles and Dareh Gregorian reported from New York.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com