Chad Condit launches bid for Senate

By Brian Melley, The Associated Press
Friday November 09, 2001

Infamous Condit’s son files for state’s Modesto district 


FRESNO — The son of Rep. Gary Condit, who scuttled plans to run for state Assembly after his father became embroiled in the Chandra Levy scandal, reversed course Wednesday and decided to run for state Senate. 

Chad Condit filed a notice of intent to run for the 12th Senate District currently held by Sen. Dick Monteith, R-Modesto, who is running for the elder Condit’s Congressional seat, according to the Stanislaus County elections office. 

Condit, 34, recently quit his $110,000 a year job in the governor’s office to protest critical remarks Gov. Gray Davis made about his father. Davis, a close Condit ally and friend, said he was disappointed the congressman had not been more forthcoming in public about his relationship with Levy, a 24-year-old who disappeared in Washington, D.C., in May. 

In recent weeks, Chad Condit has been collecting signatures for his father’s re-election bid even though Rep. Condit has still not announced whether he will seek another term. 

Chad Condit could not immediately be reached for comment by The Associated Press. 

During his first remarks following his father’s first television interview, Chad Condit said he had abandoned his own political ambitions. 

“If this is what politics is about, I don’t know that I want any part in it,” he told CNN in August. 

In a stark illustration of how the Condit political machine has collapsed, local Democrats said Chad Condit was likely to face Rusty Areias, head of state parks, and a former Condit ally. 

Areias, 52, was a member of the Gang of Five that Gary Condit led in protest of Assembly Speaker Willie Brown when they were in state Legislature in the 1980s. 

Just six months ago, all this would have seemed improbable. The Condit machine, running strong for more than a decade, was realigning political seats to account for term limits and make room for the next generation. 

Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza, a former Condit aide who could not seek re-election because of term limits, planned to run for the 12th Senate district carved out for him by state Democratic leaders. 

Chad Condit, a former aide to Cardoza, was expected to run for Cardoza’s vacant 26th district Assembly seat. 

Then Chandra Levy vanished and Rep. Condit’s political future was punctuated with a big question mark. He’s not a suspect in her disappearance, but he admitted having an extramarital affair with her, police sources have said. 

Cardoza, D-Atwater, and Monteith, who had said they wouldn’t challenge Condit, both announced they would run for the seat. 

With Cardoza running for Congress, a number of candidates have jumped at the chance to fill his seat and the Senate seat that had been tailor-made for him. 

“Everything’s been in flux around here,” said Tom Hallinan, a Democrat from Modesto who is running for Cardoza’s current office. “It’s been that kind of year: A strange confluence of events for everybody.” 

Other Democrats running for the 12th Senate District include Larry Morse, an assistant Merced County prosecutor, and Modesto lawyer Armando Flores. 

Former Assemblyman Peter Frusetta, a Tres Pinos rancher, leads the list of Republican candidates. Jeff Denham of Salinas filed a statement of intent along with Joseph L. Wright of Modesto, who works for Rep. John Doolittle, R-Calif. 

Flores, 50, who filed papers at the same time as Chad Condit, said the clerk’s office was crowded with candidates trying to beat Wednesday’s deadline to declare for state office.