Panetta Won't Run For Governor
Money and politics are 'a reality that can't be ignored'
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Feb. 2) -- Former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta announced Monday that he would not run for governor of California this year.
Panetta said his lack of campaign funds and Sen. Dianne Feinstein's late withdrawal from the gubernatorial race made a competitive run unrealistic.
Though Panetta, a popular former California congressman, was President Bill Clinton's chief of staff from 1993-96, he lacks broad name recognition in his home state.
"My conclusion is that at this late date, it's just not realistic to expect that I could put together an effective campaign," Panetta said.
Some analysts thought the Monica Lewinsky scandal could possibly entangle a Panetta campaign. Allegations of an affair between the former intern and the president drew Panetta back to Washington last week to face a grand jury probe into the matter.
With Panetta and Feinstein out of the picture, the Democratic field has narrowed to Lt. Governor Gray Davis and wealthy airline executive Al Checci. Attorney General Dan Lungren is considered the likely Republican candidate.
California's next governor will make a deep and lasting impression on the state's politics; he or she will preside over the redrawing of a decade's worth of state and federal election districts.