23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes, a Republican, had filed precandidacy papers for the 2012 election to the Supreme Court of Appeals in December.
Wilkes, 55, who lives near Martinsburg, W.Va., had been expected to join fellow 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge John Yoder of Harpers Ferry, W.Va. in the race.
Yoder, 60, a Republican, filed for office last week and is the only candidate to have filed so far for the May 8 GOP primary. The filing period began Jan. 9.
On Wednesday night, the Wilkes For Supreme Court campaign, Mike Caryl, treasurer, sent an email announcing the cancellation of a reception for Wilkes in Charleston scheduled for Saturday.
"Judge Wilkes has decided to withdraw his candidacy for the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia," the email said. "All contributions sent to the campaign will be returned."
Attempts Thursday to reach Wilkes at his office and his campaign treasurer by phone were unsuccessful.
Two 12-year terms on the five-seat appeals court are up for election this year.
Circuit Judge Jim Rowe of Greenbrier County filed Wednesday, and joins Justice Robin Davis and former State Bar President Tish Chafin in the Democratic primary.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.