A Republican state senator withdrew her candidacy for a Kentucky congressional seat Thursday after losing a special election for that same office to Democrat Ben Chandler (search).

Alice Forgy Kerr (search) threw her support to state Sen. Tom Buford (search), one of three remaining GOP candidates in the May primary.

Kerr, of Lexington, lost to Chandler by 12 percentage points in Tuesday's election in the central Kentucky district that includes Lexington and the state capital of Frankfort.

The U.S. House seat previously was held by Republican Ernie Fletcher, who resigned in December upon being sworn in as governor. Chandler will serve the rest of Fletcher's term. He would have to win a Democratic primary and then the fall general election for a full two-year term of his own.

Chandler's primary opponent is Fayette County Attorney Margaret Kannensohn.

Buford faces Don Swarthout and Bryan Coffman, both of Lexington, in the GOP primary.