Some politicians leave wiggle room when they say they won’t run. Not Ashley Swearengin.
“I am firmly not planning to run” for California governor in 2018, the outgoing mayor of Fresno told reporters Wednesday in Sacramento.
Swearengin’s decision to pass up the race raises the question of whether the GOP can recruit a competitive candidate.
The 2018 California governor’s race already features several prominent Democrats – including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Treasurer John Chiang, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and former state schools chief Delaine Eastin.
But as of yet, no Republicans have entered the campaign – or even really floated their candidacies.
Swearengin says she thinks her party will field a solid candidate, adding that even many Democrats are concerned about one-party rule.
“They think it’s important to see checks and balances,“ she said Wednesday. “So I think that over time, the pendulum will continue to shift back to a more balanced approach in California, and we’ll see how our party responds to that.”
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is often mentioned as a possible candidate, though he said earlier this year he won’t run.
But one big name is drawing buzz: Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist and prominent Donald Trump supporter. Republicans are trying to recruit Thiel, but it’s not clear if he’s interested.