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David Hadley, former Republican assemblyman from Manhattan Beach, files to run for California governor in 2018

Former assemblyman David Hadley, center,  greeting voters at a candidate forum in 2016. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Former assemblyman David Hadley, center, greeting voters at a candidate forum in 2016. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Republican David Hadley, a former assemblyman from Manhattan Beach, says he is exploring a run for governor in 2018. 

Hadley, who served one term in Assembly District 66 before being defeated by Democrat Al Muratsuchi last year, filed papers Friday to open a gubernatorial campaign committee.

"On a whole series of issues, I think California public policy is lacking a lot of balance and a lot of common sense," Hadley said in an interview with the Times. "We have allowed the distractions of political polarization and fake culture war battles to keep us from focusing on the things that we should be focusing on, which is a better future for all Californians." 

Hadley said if he proceeds with a run, his attention will be on Californians who "are struggling the most," particularly with poverty, high housing costs and the cost of energy.

He said he plans to make a final decision about whether he's running in the "next couple of months."

Hadley emphasized his bipartisan appeal as an asset for his possible gubernatorial run. In 2014, he was elected to a district where Democrats had an eight-percentage-point voter registration advantage, and during his tenure was the Republican legislator representing a district entirely within Los Angeles County.

"I'm confident that if I chose to fully pursue and declare my candidacy and run, that I would have a lot of support both inside and outside the Republican Party," Hadley said. "I think I have a good track record of engaging with voters and residents from all over the political spectrum."

Hadley is the only potential GOP candidate for governor that has prior experience as an elected official. Former NFL player Rosey Grier and attorney John Cox have also said they're running, while San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and former Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin have said they will not.

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