Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that he won't join what's expected to be a crowded field of Golden State candidates running for U.S. Senate in 2016.
Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer announced last week that she plans to step down at the end of her current term, setting the stage for the California's first open Senate seat race in more than 20 years. The contest is expected to attract a number of young, prominent Democrats seeking the rare opportunity advance to a top statewide post in a state where the governorship and both U.S. Senate seats are held by longtime politicians who are 70-plus.
Until Monday, Newsom, the former San Francisco mayor, was considered not only part of that pack, but a potential frontrunner should he have joined the fray. But Newsom, who is also seen as a possible candidate for governor in 2018, said Monday that he plans to sit the race out.
"While I am humbled by the widespread encouragement of so many and hold in the highest esteem those who serve us in federal office, I know that my head and my heart, my young family's future, and our unfinished work all remain firmly in the State of California --- not Washington D.C.," he said in a post to Facebook fans.
Political analyst Larry Gerston had guessed last week that Newsom wouldn't want the post. He said that Newsom was more of an "executive branch guy."
Other high-profile Democrats considered possible candidates for the seat include former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who issued a statement expressing interest in a race, wealthy environmental activist and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer and state Attorney General Kamala Harris. Some political observers in the state had said it was unlikely that Harris and Newsom, both rising stars in the state party, would run for the same seat.