Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, considered a rising star of the Republican Party, has chosen not to run for the U.S. Senate.
“She’s letting people know this weekend that she’s decided against a run,” Swearengin strategist Tim Clark told The Bee ahead of the state GOP’s convention this weekend in downtown Sacramento.
“It’s just not the right seat for her at this time,” he added in an email.
Swearengin becomes the latest potential candidate to turn down a campaign for the seat coming open next year with the retirement of U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer. Fellow Republicans Neel Kashkari, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer all have declined to enter the race.
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On the Democratic side, Attorney General Kamala Harris is the only announced candidate.
Swearengin’s decision gives her options in 2018, when Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown must step down because of term limits and other statewide constitutional offices will be on the ballot. In addition, California’s other Senate seat would open if Sen. Dianne Feinstein decides to retire.
Swearengin ran unsuccessfully for state controller last fall. She was elected mayor in 2008, and with Faulconer is one of the few Republicans to lead a big city.
Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago.