When then-22 year-old Solomon Goldstein-Rose won in a crowded Democratic field in 2016, it appeared he was on his way to a long career in the Massachusetts legislature.
State lawmakers rarely lose re-election, and his predecessor, state Rep. Ellen Story, had held the Amherst-based Third Hampshire seat for nearly a quarter century.
But Goldstein-Rose stunned his district and fellow lawmakers in February, announcing he was dropping his Democratic Party label and would run for re-election as an independent. He said he wanted to "promote the idea... that you can be effective without needing to be partisan."
He would have to do that, though, by beating a Democrat.
Mindy Domb, who runs the Amherst Survival Center, and Eric Nakajima, a school board member who served in the Patrick administration, would square off in the September 4 primary for the opportunity to face Goldstein-Rose in November.
With that primary a month away, Goldstein-Rose is now pulling the plug on his legislative career, about 20 months after it began. He sent an email Thursday to his supporters.
"I'm so proud of all we've accomplished, from criminal justice reform to paid family and medical leave to a higher minimum wage," he wrote. "As we’ve come to the end of the session, I've also done some intense reflecting and have decided to endorse Mindy Domb for the upcoming state rep election rather than campaign for re-election."
That "intense reflecting" led Goldstein-Rose to consider where his "efforts are most needed at the moment."
"Having experienced a full legislative session, and considering the increasingly dismal national situation, I’ve concluded that my particular contribution should be focused on Federal policy," he wrote. "I plan to work energetically to elect a new President and work on Federal energy initiatives."
Goldstein-Rose declined further comment, by email, stating that he was only giving an interview to The Daily Hampshire Gazette, which first reported on his announcement.
In that letter, he called Domb a "dedicated community servant" who he's found to be "passionate and articulate on her priority issues."
Domb, for her part, said she was honored to receive the endorsement.
"I wasn't expecting it," Domb said in an interview Thursday evening. "He had given every indication he was running."
Domb said Goldstein-Rose gave her a heads-up about the announcement, but she declined to say when.
Nakajima said he is not surprised he missed out on Goldstein-Rose's support. He finished second to Goldstein-Rose in the six-way 2016 primary, and said voters this year should take note of the incumbent's recent actions.
"For people who looked at the race last time, and said that it was worth taking a flyer on someone who didn't have experience either with the legislature or in Boston, I think it's sobering," he said. "Because what it shows you is it's a tough job, it's hard to do and -- I think -- experience matters."
With Goldstein-Rose's announcement, the race will be all but settled by the Democratic primary. No Republicans or other independents filed to run for the seat, which also includes Pelham, and part of Granby.
Adam Frenier contributed to this report.