Former Massachusetts state Sen. Ben Downing speaks while standing on a footbridge at Constitution Beach, Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, in East Boston. On Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, Browning announced that he is dropping out of a run for Massachusetts governor in 2022. Credit: Elise Amendola / AP

BOSTON — The first Democrat to formally announce a run for governor in Massachusetts said Tuesday that he is dropping out of the race.

Former state Sen. Ben Downing said in a statement he is dropping out of the 2022 election “with a heavy heart” because “we simply do not have the financial resources to continue. While it’s painful to admit, that reality has brought this chapter to a close.”

When Downing announced his run in February, he said his priorities would be addressing the coronavirus pandemic, racial inequity, climate change, child care, affordable higher education, and transit investment.

“Though my name will not be on the ballot next year, I will keep working for the principles that defined this campaign,” he said in his statement.

Downing is a Pittsfield native who spent 10 years representing dozens of western Massachusetts communities in the Senate before stepping down in 2017. He has spent his time since as an executive with a Boston renewable energy company.

With Republican Gov. Charlie Baker announcing this month that he does not plan to run for a third term, the race is wide open. The Democrats who remain in the race include Harvard professor Danielle Allen and state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz. Another possible Democratic contender is Attorney General Maura Healey, although she has not made a formal announcement.

On the Republican side, Geoff Diehl, a former state representative who has the backing of President Donald Trump, announced his candidacy in the summer.