SOUTH PORTLAND — City Councilor Tom Blake is withdrawing his candidacy to fill the state Senate seat being vacated by Larry Bliss.

Blake announced last week that he would seek the Democratic nomination for Senate District 7, which comprises South Portland, Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth. Bliss, a Democrat in his second term, is resigning to take a job as an administrator in the California State University System. Bliss had been laid off from the University of Southern Maine more than a year ago.

Blake said he has been touched by the supportive messages he’s received about his Senate bid, which makes his decision very difficult.

“But at this time it is the right decision for me and my expanding family,” Blake said in a statement.

Blake urged his supporters to back the Democratic candidate, who will be selected by the Cumberland County Democratic Committee at a caucus April 5. Blake said he is deeply concerned about the “continued negative tone” and the “backward and regressive course” set by the LePage administration and that it is critical to carry on with the work of Bliss.

The special election will be held May 10.