Rhode Island congressional candidate facing menacing charge exits race

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island congressional candidate recently arrested on a menacing charge in Ohio has dropped out of the race.

Michael Neary said in a statement Friday he was seeking medical treatment for non-epileptic seizures following his arrest in Ohio in March. He said the decision followed “careful consultation and prayer.”

Neary, 28, was among a large field of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in Rhode Island’s 2nd congressional district following incumbent Democrat Jim Langevin’s announcement in January that he’s retiring.

Neary has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of menacing by stalking March 23, as well as drug counts after marijuana and drug paraphernalia were allegedly found in his car. He’s previously said he’d remain in the race despite the charges.

The Columbus, Ohio resident, who grew up in Rhode Island, was stopped by police after another driver reported having been followed from Columbus to Troy, more than 60 miles (100 kilometers) away.

Police said the driver reported that Neary’s car mimicked their every move, matching speed and lane changes and even stopping at a rest area after they did.

Authorities said Neary told them that he had recently returned from Rhode Island, was very stressed and had been focusing on the vehicle’s Ohio registration.

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