Capitol Alert

Republican Mike Ramos pulls out of attorney general’s race; will run for re-election

Michael Ramos, San Bernardino County District Attorney, speaks during a news conference as the county sheriff Gary Penrod listens in the background Tuesday, March 7, 2006, in San Bernardino.
Michael Ramos, San Bernardino County District Attorney, speaks during a news conference as the county sheriff Gary Penrod listens in the background Tuesday, March 7, 2006, in San Bernardino. AP

San Bernardino District Attorney Mike Ramos, who over the last two years has positioned himself as the leading Republican challenger for California attorney general in 2018, announced Tuesday that he was abandoning his statewide aspirations and will seek re-election instead.

“Simply put, I learned that as district attorneys we have the chance to ensure justice and truly affect positive change for victims and their families, and the public we serve,” Ramos said in a prepared statement. “While I have the highest respect for the position of Attorney General, I believe that I can better serve the public at the local level, while still continuing to champion legislation and public safety efforts at both the state and national levels.”

Ramos’ decision follows Gov. Jerry Brown’s appointment of Democrat Xavier Becerra to become the state’s top law enforcement official and underscores the GOP’s challenges in fielding viable candidates for higher office given the political headwinds. Ramos’ departure also can be viewed as a political gift to state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones’ chances of making it though the primary, potentially setting up a same-party runoff between two Democrats.

In an interview last week, Jones declined to contrast himself with Becerra, saying he would only do so after the filing period closes next spring. Becerra, meantime, has been raising money for re-election while trying to set up his office amid the promise of launching legal challenges to the Trump administration.

In his prepared statement, Ramos noted his work as co-chair for the successful Proposition 66 initiative to speed up death penalty repeals.

“As a result of our statewide success and working alongside my fellow colleagues in the law and justice community, I came to realize that the true gatekeepers of public safety were, in fact, district attorneys,” he said.

Ramos also noted that he is serving as the elected president of the National District Attorneys Association.

“Holding this position afforded me the opportunity to interact and collaborate with district attorneys from all across our great nation,” he said. “Lessons were learned, and they have brought me to where I am today.”

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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