TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Oklahoma first lady Cathy Keating on Friday dropped her campaign to succeed U.S. Rep. Steve Largent, saying she wants to avoid a difficult runoff that could be harmful to the Republican party.

Keating finished behind state Rep. John Sullivan in a special GOP primary Tuesday. Sullivan had 46 percent of the vote to Keating's 30 percent. A runoff had been scheduled for Jan. 8 because neither candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote.

``A divisive and bitter runoff election will do nothing to ensure the election of a Republican and that is not who I am as a person nor as a candidate,'' Keating said in a statement Friday.

Since no runoff is now needed, the general election to name a successor to Largent, a former professional football player, will now be held Jan. 8. Largent plans to step down Feb. 15 to run for governor. Gov. Frank Keating is in his second and final term.

Attorney Doug Dodd, a former Tulsa school board member and broadcaster, won the Democratic nomination.