MONTPELIER >> Vermont House Speaker Shap Smith has announced he's dropping out of the race for the 2016 Democratic nomination for governor because his wife is being treated for breast cancer.

Smith's announcement at the Statehouse Tuesday came nearly three months to the day after he became the first to announce his candidacy for governor at an event in his hometown of Morrisville.

The 49-year-old lawyer, who has served as House speaker since 2009, was expected to face former lawmaker Matt Dunne and former Transportation Secretary Sue Minter in the primary. Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and retired Wall Street executive Bruce Lisman are seeking the Republican nomination.

Smith said he would not seek re-election to the House.