Rep. Jane Harman Joins Calif. Governor's Race
But L.A. Mayor Riordan decides to give it a pass
By Carin Dessauer/CNN
WASHINGTON (Feb. 4) -- The California governor's race gained another
Democratic candidate while a prominent Republican has decided not to run.
Rep. Jane Harman, a Democrat, announced Wednesday that she was making a last-minute entry into the race.
But Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, a Republican, announced
he will not be a candidate for governor.
Wednesday is the last day candidates can file for the open June 2
primary in which all major party candidates run together.
At a news conference, Harman said she brings "truly relevant experience," including knowledge of state issues, a commitment to
public education and families and a pro-choice position on abortion.
Harman, a moderate Democratic congresswoman for six years, decided to run
because she "believes that she has the message and vision for what the next
governor should be doing," a Harman aide said.
Sources familiar with Riordan's decision-making process said he might have run if he could have done it as an independent. California law forbids an independent candidacy for governor if a candidate had been registered as a Republican or Democrat as recently as October 1997, according to a state election official.
A senior aide to the mayor said that Riordan was "definitely registered as a Republican."
The moderate Republican mayor had been considering a run "because the state of education in the state is dismal at best and he feels very strongly that more needs to be done on the issue," a senior aide said.
Riordan and Harman began considering the race only after Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, opted not to run two weeks ago.
Earlier this week, former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta said
that he would not run for governor.
Harman decided that she could "put an organization together." Although her aides would not say how much of her own money she will commit to the race, one aide said that she was "willing to commit her own resources" to fund her campaign. Riordan also would have had personal resources to commit to the race.
Both Feinstein and Panetta decided not run in part because neither
one had the fire to raise the minimum $20 million to $30 million necessary to wage a campaign.
Millionaire businessman Al Checchi, a Democratic contender, has
already spent millions on TV ads hoping to increase his name recognition. Checchi has said that he is willing to spend his own money and could spend close to $50 million on the primary and general election races.
Lt. Gov. Gray Davis is the other Democrat in the race and right now he leads in the polls.
On the Republican side Attorney General Dan Lundgren is the presumptive Republican front-runner.
If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary, then the top vote-getter from each party will meet in a runoff on election day in November. Independents do not run in the primary. Republican Gov. Pete Wilson cannot seek re-election because of the term limit.
There is a good chance that Democratic media consultant Bill Carrick, who works for Feinstein and Riordan, could work for Harman, according to her officials. Harman's current media consultant is already working for one of the other gubernatorial candidates. Carrick was not available for comment.