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Robert Hertzberg opts out of state Senate race

Former Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg announced Monday that he would not run for the state Senate, averting a showdown with fellow Democrat Fran Pavley

Former Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg announced Monday that he would not run for the state Senate, averting a showdown with fellow Democrat Fran Pavley.

Hertzberg had been openly considering a run in the new 27th Senate District, which includes the northern San Fernando Valley and parts of southern Ventura County. The district is one of the few that is expected to be competitive this fall.

Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) had reached out to Hertzberg about possibly running for the seat, hoping that the more liberal Pavley would opt to run in a safer Democratic district anchored in Oxnard. But when Pavley refused to move, Steinberg announced his support for her.

"I believe the extraordinary challenges we face in California can best be met with big ideas and independent voices," Hertzberg said in a statement bowing out of the race. "Pursuing a partisan campaign at this time would inevitably distract from my top priority -- reforming our government to better serve its citizens."

The announcement caps a good couple of weeks for Steinberg, who saw other potential primary challenges to Democratic incumbents fall by the wayside. Assemblyman Sandre Swanson (D-Oakland) opted out of a race against Berkeley Democrat Loni Hancock, and Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (La CaƱada Flintridge) decided to drop his threatened campaign against Senate incumbent Carol Liu.

Hertzberg's departure makes Pavley the prohibitive favorite in the race. She faces a potential showdown with Republican Assemblyman Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita)

RELATED:

Man of contrasts

Robert Hertzberg, mayoral candidate

Darrell Steinberg affirms support for Fran Pavley

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

Photo: Bob Hertzberg campaigns during his 2005 run for mayor of Los Angeles. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

 
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