Top Potential Contender Won’t Run for Tauscher Seat, Endorses Ally

Posted March 19, 2009 at 5:25pm

California Assemblyman Tom Torlakson (D), the best known potential candidateto replace Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), who is expected to take a toppost at the State Department, announced Thursday that he will not run forher seat.

Torlakson, who was already preparing to run for state Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2010, said he would remain in that race.

“As a long time teacher, I believe I have a unique opportunity to turn our schools around and better prepare our children for the challenges they will face once they enter the workforce,— he said in a statement.

Torlakson also took the opportunity to endorse an ally, state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D), in the yet-to-be-scheduled race to replace Tauscher. DeSaulnier has expressed interest in running in a special election, and with Torlakson out of the race, he is all but certain to do so.

“The East Bay has been fortunate to have been served by Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher the past 12 years, and I wish her well as she prepares for this important new position with the Obama administration,— Torlakson said.

“Mark DeSaulnier is the best person to continue her tradition of strong and effective leadership in Congress. He has the experience, intelligence and character necessary to represent the residents of the district. I am pleased to endorse him and offer my full support for his upcoming campaign.—

The race to replace Tauscher, who must go through a confirmation process in the Senate, is only beginning to take shape, and no date has been set for a special election. Besides DeSaulnier, state Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan (D) and former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla (D) are also exploring the race.

Although the district in California’s East Bay is heavily Democratic, Republicans are vowing to make the special election competitive. Businessman Nicholas Gerber, the 2008 GOP nominee against Tauscher, is interested in running again, and party leaders say San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson, former football star Brent Jones, and California GOP Vice Chairman Tom Del Beccaro could also run.