California’s 2002 races take their final form

By Alexa Haussler, The Associated Press
Saturday December 08, 2001

SACRAMENTO — Rep. Gary Condit ended months of speculation over his political future Friday by declaring he will seek re-election, while his son abandoned his plans to jump into politics. 

Friday was the final day for California congressional, statewide and legislative candidates to decide whether they want their names on the March 5 ballot. 

The most closely watched races involved the father-son duo, and the answers came Friday afternoon when Democrat Gary Condit declared his candidacy for re-election and the younger Condit abandoned his bid for the state Senate. 

Secretary of State Bill Jones also ended guessing Friday by formally declaring his candidacy for governor. Jones filed the necessary papers in Fresno, his hometown, after speculation that money shortages would cause him to drop out. 

Jones will face Los Angeles businessman Bill Simon and former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan in the Republican primary. The winner will take on Democratic Gov. Gray Davis in November. 

Meanwhile, primary battles took shape in two newly created California congressional seats, which were formed when the Legislature and governor redrew the state’s districts this summer. 

The new districts and major candidates include: 

— The newly created, Republican-friendly 21st Congressional District in Tulare and Fresno counties: A Republican primary battle among Assemblyman Mike Briggs, former Fresno mayor Jim Patterson and Devin Nunes, a Tulare County dairy farmer. 

— The 39th Congressional District in southeast Los Angeles County: Linda Sanchez, a Democrat and sister of Orange County Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez, and Assemblywoman Sally Havice, D-Cerritos, will face off. 

In other congressional news, former state Assemblywoman Audie Bock, a Democrat and former Green Party member, announced Friday that she will not challenge Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland for the 9th Congressional District seat in 2002. In October, Bock said she would challenge Lee, the only member of Congress to oppose a resolution that granted President Bush authority to use force against terrorists. 

Bock said she now will back the campaign of Kevin Greene, a local Democratic activist. 

The candidates for other statewide races include: 

— State Sen. Republican Bruce McPherson is the key Republican vying to challenge Democrat Cruz Bustamante for lieutenant governor. McPherson’s 27-year-old son, Hunter, was fatally shot two blocks from his San Francisco home during a Nov. 17 robbery attempt. 

— Secretary of state is an open seat. Former Secretary of State March Fong Eu, a Democrat who held the position for nearly two decades before term limits, wants to reclaim the job. Also running are Michela Alioto, the 1998 Democratic nominee for the post, and Assemblyman Kevin Shelley, a San Francisco Democrat. Former Assemblyman Keith Olberg, a Republican from Victorville, is considered the strongest GOP primary contender. 

— The race for controller will include state Sen. Tom McClintock, a Northridge Republican, and Board of Equalization member Dean Andal, a Republican of Stockton. 

Democrats Steve Westly, a former Silicon Valley executive with eBay Inc. and a newcomer to politics, and Board of Equalization member Johan Klehs also are running. 

— Democratic Treasurer Phil Angelides will be challenged by Phillip Conlon, a Republican and former member of the Public Utilities Commission appointed by former Gov. Pete Wilson. 

— State Senator Dick Ackerman, R-Fullerton, is the only Republican who will challenge Democratic Attorney General Bill Lockyer. 

— There will be a three-way Democratic primary for the open seat of insurance commissioner. Assemblyman Tom Calderon of Montebello; former state insurance commissioner John Garamendi of Walnut Grove; and former state assemblyman Tom Umberg of Orange County, all Democrats, all are running. 

Republicans Wes Bannister, of Orange County, and Gary Mendoza, of Los Angeles, also are facing off for the seat.