Republican New York City mayoral candidate Paul Massey dropped out of the race on Wednesday, just hours after sparring in a breakfast debate with fellow GOP candidate, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.

Malliotakis now has a clear path to the Republican nomination to challenge New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in November. De Blasio, the Democratic incumbent in an overwhelmingly Democratic city, is heavily favored.

Massey, who was running for office for the first time, made the announcement in a noon press release, putting the blame on the expense of the campaign.

"Unfortunately, the cost of running for office is extraordinary, and I do not see a path to raising the necessary funds to beat an incumbent mayor,” he said.

RELATED: A Q&A with Paul Massey

Massey made millions with his real estate brokerage Massey Knakal before selling it to Cushman & Wakefield in 2014. He personally contributed large sums to his campaign, spending more than $2.7 million himself as of the latest campaign finance report in May. Massey’s wife, Gretchen, also donated the maximum individual contribution of $4,950.

Massey was also a prolific fundraiser, getting more than $3 million in contributions, with about half of those came from donors living outside New York City. But Massey was also a prolific spender, with Politico New York reporting in May that he had spent more than $1 million total on 22 separate consulting and polling firms.

Campaign professionals derided that spending as emblematic of a candidate who was inexperienced in politics and not fully versed in the issues affecting New York City.

Malliotakis’ campaign released a statement saying she’s “sad” that Massey has left the race, calling him “a gentleman and someone who cares a great deal about out city.” But she said that his decision to leave the race will allow her to focus on defeating de Blasio in the November general election.

“Whether it’s yesterday’s A train derailment, our failing schools or an out of control homeless crisis, I will take these issues to the Mayor,” Malliotakis said. “I will challenge him on how he is running New York City into the ground and slowly returning it to the bad old days of the 1970s and 80s.”

RELATED: A Q&A with mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis

Rick Fromberg, de Blasio's campaign manager, took a shot at Malliotakis in the wake of Massey's exit. "New Yorkers expect their Mayor to stand up to Donald Trump, not imitate him," he said. "Unfortunately, Bill de Blasio's opponents haven't gotten the message. Today, Nicole Malliotakis echoed Trump's harsh position on deportations and admitted voting for Trump. New Yorkers know right wing candidates will only hurt immigrants, children, health care and working families."

Massey, who took a leave of absence from his executive position at Cushman & Wakefield to run for office, is expected to return to that position. In the statement announcing the end of his campaign, Massey said he’ll continue to be involved in nonprofits in New York City, especially in education. “New York certainly hasn’t heard the last from me,” he added.