SACRAMENTO (AP) — Supporters of a long-shot bid to make California an independent nation are ending their effort to put it to a statewide vote next year.

The secretary of state’s office confirmed Monday that Marcus Ruiz Evans, vice president of the Yes California Independence Campaign, notified officials he intends to withdraw the California Nationhood ballot measure.

The group’s president, Louis Marinelli, says in a message to supporters that he is seeking permanent residence in Russia. He says supporters may try again to separate California from the United States at a later date.

The movement drew extra interest after last year’s election of Republican Donald Trump as president.

Marinelli says the group has nearly 100,000 registered supporters. Supporters needed more than 585,000 signatures by July to put a measure on the ballot.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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