Deukmejian Rules Out 3rd Term, Leaving Public Life : GOP Calls for ’90 Bid Rejected
Republican Gov. George Deukmejian announced today that he will not seek a third term as governor in 1990 and will retire from public life.
The governor, first elected in 1982 after narrowly defeating Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, made the announcement at a news conference at the state Capitol.
“Now I want to rack up two more years of accomplishments before I leave office... The best way for me to do that is by not running for a third term,” he said.
“I didn’t come to public office to set some record of longevity,” he said. “I came to office to make the state a safer place to live.”
Sen. Wilson Notified
He did not say whether he hoped to return to private practice as an attorney. “I expect to do something in the private sector. At this point, I don’t know exactly what it will be.” he said.
Deukmejian also said that he alerted the office of U.S. Sen. Pete Wilson about his decision. Wilson has been mentioned in published reports as a potential gubernatorial candidate in 1990.
Deukmejian, 60, had been urged by fellow Republicans to run a third time in order to protect GOP lawmakers in the scheduled 1990 reapportionment process.
Reapportionment, the redrawing of legislative and congressional districts in order to accommodate changes in population, is determined by the Legislature and the governor. Currently, Democrats dominate both houses and Republicans have asked Deukmejian to seek a third term in hopes that his gubernatorial veto will shield GOP lawmakers from the creation of heavily pro-Democratic districts.
But Deukmejian said a reelection bid would spur opposition from the Democrat-controlled Legislature to his programs since lawmakers would interpret major accomplishments as advancing his candidacy.
Deukmejian had made no secret of his reluctance to return to the fray when his second term expires in January 1991.
In Public Life 27 Years
There had been published speculation in recent weeks that Deukmejian, a lawyer, hoped to retire to enter a lucrative private law practice.
Deukmejian, who has been in public life for 27 years, had been considered as a potential vice presidential contender by George Bush during the latter’s successful presidential campaign last year.
His announcement came at an upbeat moment--shortly after the Democrat-controlled Legislature delivered him a sweet victory by confirming without dissent his nomination of Auditor General Thomas Hayes to replace the late state Treasurer Jesse Unruh.
Address to State Due
The long-awaited decision came just four days before Deukmejian--as a lame duck--delivers his annual, televised State of the State message to the Legislature outlining his goals for 1989.
Deukmejian, of Long Beach, was elected to the Assembly in 1962, then won election to the state Senate in 1966. Deukmejian was elected attorney general in 1978, and served one term before running successfully against Bradley for governor four years later.
In 1986, Deukmejian was re-elected governor, again defeating Bradely.