After a stinging loss in last week's special election, state Rep. Ron Miller said Tuesday he plans to withdraw his name from the primary ballot for an open seat in the state Senate.

Miller appeared on the ballot last week as the Republican Party's nominee for the 28th District seat left vacant by the resignation of Mike Waugh.

But businessman and independent Republican Scott Wagner stunned politicos by handily defeating both Miller and Democratic challenger Linda Small with a write-in campaign.

Wagner will fill the Senate seat through the end of the session, which ends Nov. 30. A date for his swearing-in has not been set.

The top vote-getters of the May 20 primary will square off in the November general election, with the winner taking the seat for a full four-year term.

On the ballot: Miller's withdrawal leaves Wagner and political newcomer Zack Hearn on the primary ballot as Republicans and Small as the sole Democrat.

Miller said his decision came after speaking with friends and family over the past week. He said he believes the tone of the Senate race, the most expensive ever run in York County and one in which television ads and direct mail came at an unprecedented pace, will remain negative.

"I don't see the tone of the race changing a whole lot," he said. "It's not good for York County, and I don't want to see us go through it."

Barbs were thrown by both Wagner's camp and the state Republican Party, which fought to keep the tea party-supporting independent conservative from taking the seat. Voters said they were disgusted by the onslaught.

"From this side it would be different," Miller said. "But I believe (the Wagner-supporting group Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania PAC) would continue with it, and I'm just done with it. I have no intent of going through it again."

Background: Miller was elected to serve in the 93rd House District in 1998 and has held the seat since. He did not file a petition to get on the primary ballot for the House, and he doesn't intend to launch a write-in campaign for the seat, he said.

He'll fill out the remainder of his term, which ends this year, and move on.

"The time has come for someone else to do it," he said. "(Candidate) Kristin Hill will make a tremendous representative."

Hill is the Republican running against tea party Republican Ernie Merisotis, who was supported by Wagner but lost his 2010 and 2012 bids to unseat Miller.

Miller, 62, said he's still deciding whether to retire completely.

"There are plenty of opportunities out there, but I'm not leaning in any direction," he said.

— Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.