Fresno Mayor Swearengin passes on race for Barbara Boxer's Senate seat

Swearengin, who received most support among potential GOP candidates for Senate in poll, passes on the race.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, who received the most support among potential Republican candidates for U.S. Senate in a new poll, has decided not to run in the 2016 contest, said advisor Tim Clark.

“She’s going to sit this out,” Clark said in an email.

Swearengin, who ran unsuccessfully for state controller in 2014, is viewed by many Republicans as likely to run again for a statewide post. But her decision to skip the race for the seat being vacated by Sen. Barbara Boxer is not surprising. Clark had said previously that she was more likely to run for an executive post in 2018.

In USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released Friday, Swearengin received the largest support among potential GOP candidates: 9% of registered voters surveyed.

The politicians who led the poll were Democratic Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, the sole major candidate in the race, who won 28% backing, and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who earlier this week took a pass on the race, with 19% support. Nearly a quarter of voters were undecided.

The polling showed the obstacles Swearengin would have had to overcome. Despite being the mayor of California’s fifth-largest city and having previously run for statewide office, only 19% of those surveyed could identify her. Eight percent held a favorable view of Swearengin, while 4% held a dim view of her.

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seema.mehta@latimes.com

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