FRESNO — State Sen. Jim Costa, a longtime politician who has served 23 years in the Legislature and cannot seek re-election because of term limits, said Tuesday he is leaving public office and will not run for Congress.
Costa, 49, D-Fresno, had said he would run for the 18th Congressional District if Rep. Gary Condit decided to step down. But his decision was not necessarily a sign that Condit will run for re-election.
Costa’s chief of staff, Larry Sheingold, said it was too late for Costa to form a campaign committee and begin raising money even if Condit calls it quits.
“He ran out of time,” Sheingold said. “Even at this time if Gary decided not to run, he doesn’t have his committee up, he doesn’t have a nickel. It would be too hard to start from a standing start.”
Condit filed papers Monday to waive a fee to put his name on the ballot, but his chief of staff said the Ceres Democrat has not announced whether he will seek an eighth term.
Sheingold said the race for Condit’s seat would have been a bruising battle for Costa.
Costa, who served 16 years in the state Assembly and seven years in the Senate, also abandoned plans for a possible run for the newly formed 21st Congressional District in Tulare and Fresno counties.
That seat was carved for a Republican candidate, with 48 percent GOP voters and 38 percent Democrats.
Costa has not decided what he will do when his term ends next year, but Sheingold said it will be in the private sector.
On the Net:
Sen. Jim Costa: http://www.sen.ca.gov/costa/