Former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez announced Saturday that he is withdrawing from the contest to succeed Rep. Xavier Becerra, citing an unspecified health issue, scrambling the race that was triggered by Becerra’s surprise nomination as state attorney general.
Pérez, a Democrat from Los Angeles, had amassed a long list of endorsements but was not able to clear the candidate field. Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez entered the race last week, and several local officials and activists have expressed interest since Gov. Jerry Brown selected Becerra.
Pérez did not disclose his ailment, but said he’s spoken to doctors over the last two days who helped him determine the best course of action.
“As a result, I am immediately turning my focus to that, which prevents me from giving my campaign and the community the time and attention that are necessary to run a campaign our community can be proud of,” Pérez said.
The former legislative leader, who serves on the University of California Board of Regents and consults for clients in organized labor, said he plans to take the next few days off as he prepares to focus on his health.
“I expect to be back at full force before too long,” Pérez said, promising to remain “actively engaged in my business and in advancing the progressive causes we all care deeply about.”