State Sen. Jessica de la Cruz (R-North Smithfield) -- who lagged dramatically behind former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung in fundraising on the Republican side of the Second Congressional District race -- announced Wednesday that she is ending her campaign and will instead seek re-election to the State Senate.

“While I was encouraged by the strong grassroots support my campaign received, right now, the best place for me to fight for Rhode Islanders is in the State Senate,” de la Cruz said in a statement.

She continued: “I am so proud that 96% of my donations were from right here in Rhode Island, which shows how much people responded to our message. However, there were an equal number of people who asked me to stay in the State Senate and continue supporting important causes like suspending the gas tax, parental rights in education, and our constitutional freedoms.”

Ahead of the formal release Friday of federal first quarter fundraising reports, Fung’s campaign said he had brought in more than $500,000, while de la Cruz had collected less than $100,000. A third Republican candidate, former state Rep. Bob Lancia of Cranston, has not commented on his fundraising.

de la Cruz's announcement came just weeks after she formally announced her run in CD2.

Lancia and Fung will square off in a September 13 primary to face the winner among seven Democrats running in CD2.

With a more conservative profile than Fung, de la Cruz faced a challenge in overcoming the former mayor’s geographical stronghold in Cranston and Warwick. She indicated that she is now supporting Fung.

“After deep thought, prayer, and conversations with my family, I have decided to suspend my Congressional campaign,” de la Cruz said. “In my absence there remain two Republican candidates in the Congressional race. I believe that Mayor Fung now represents the best chance for Rhode Island to send a Republican to Congress. He has my full endorsement.”

First elected in 2018, de la Cruz is one of five Republicans in the 38-member Rhode Island Senate,

She made her announcement on the same day that The Public’s Radio reported on sharp fundraising disparities among the Democrats running in CD2.

Ian Donnis can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @IanDon. Sign up here for his free weekly RI politics newsletter.