Paul Van Dam, a former Utah attorney general, has taken himself out of the running for the Utah Democratic Party chairmanship.

Van Dam said he was reluctantly withdrawing from the race because of a previous commitment to perform in a concert in Guyana that will benefit victims of last December's tsunami.

"While I am withdrawing from the race, I want to make it absolutely clear that I am not withdrawing from political service, and that I am not giving up on the goals of building bridges within the party, building public support, and building resources," Van Dam said Eight candidates remain to succeed current state Democratic Party Chairman Donald Dunn. Dunn, who was elected to lead the party in 2003, announced in February he would not seek a second term.