Loren Culp

SEATTLE (AP) — Losing Republican gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp has withdrawn his lawsuit against Secretary of State Kim Wyman that alleged widespread election irregularities and fraud.

Culp’s lawsuit, filed last month in King County Superior Court, tried to cast doubt on his 545,000-vote loss to Gov. Jay Inslee, The Seattle Times reported. It claimed “intolerable voting anomalies” in an election “that was at all times fraudulent.”

But, facing a threat of legal sanctions for making meritless claims in a court of law, Culp’s attorney, Stephen Pidgeon, withdrew the lawsuit Thursday, according to a copy of his motion supplied by the state Attorney General’s office.

The lawsuit was withdrawn “with prejudice,” meaning it cannot be refiled.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office had warned Pidgeon that the state intended to file a motion to dismiss, and take the unusual step of asking a judge to impose sanctions unless he withdrew the case by noon Friday.

The notice said the claims made by the Culp campaign were “factually baseless.” For example, it said, counties had contacted people Culp claimed were deceased and found the voters were alive, or had died after voting.

Culp’s tactics — and resulting defeat — loss is akin to the post-election flailing by President Donald Trump, who similarly leveled debunked fraud claims in an unsuccessful effort to overturn his loss to President-elect Joe Biden.

“Rather than concede gracefully, Mr. Culp has used this lawsuit to distract from the magnitude of his loss and to sow confusion,” Ferguson’s notice said.

On a Facebook live video with supporters Friday, Culp said that continuing the lawsuit would have cost millions, only to risk it being thrown out and being forced to repay the state’s legal fees.