Former South Bay congressman Tom Campbell said Thursday he is dropping his longshot bid for governor in favor of running for the right to challenge U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, the California Democrat who Republicans see as vulnerable this year.
Of course, he'll have to beat former Hewlett-Packaged chief executive Carly Fiorina and state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore to do it.
In a email with an attached video sent Thursday to donors and other supporters, Campbell said political pragmatism forced him from a race in which he was squeezed between two mega-rich opponents. He has had difficulty attracting donors and raising his profile in the gubernatorial contest.
"I initially made the decision to run for governor because I believe that my level of record of public service, especially on the state budget, and my willingness to present specific, pragmatic solutions to our most pressing problems would enable me to help chart a better course for our state," Campbell said.
His exit leaves former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Poizner to battle for the GOP nomination. Each of those candidates has donated $19 million to their respective campaigns.
Campbell, who is 57 and also has made a living as a college business professor, cited that dynamic as a key consideration in his decision.
He scheduled a news conference at 2:30 p.m. today at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose.
Boxer, 69, is running for a fourth term and faces no major challengers in the Democratic primary.