Acknowledging that he was “a little disappointed” by Lt. Gov. Leo T. McCarthy’s decision to seek a third term, Assemblyman Richard Katz (D-Sylmar) on Wednesday announced that he would seek reelection and bow out of the race for lieutenant governor.
If his opinion had been sought, Katz, 38, said he would have urged McCarthy, 58, who was reelected in 1986 to a second four-year term, to step aside. In touting his own campaign, Katz said that as a younger candidate with an ability to attract Republican support, he could have provided a boost to the entire Democratic ticket in 1990.
But Katz, first elected in 1980, said that for now he is reconciled to run for another Assembly term. In an interview, he also said, “I’ve got one of the best jobs, and I’m happy to stay here a little while longer.”
In December, Katz became the first prominent Democrat or Republican to declare an interest in the lieutenant governorship. His departure from the Assembly was expected to touch off a fierce competition for his 39th Assembly District seat in the northeast San Fernando Valley.
But McCarthy’s decision--announced in separate press conferences held in Burbank and Sacramento--short-circuited Katz’s plans. McCarthy’s announcement also ended speculation that he was considering a bid for the governorship or retirement from public life.
In a private meeting Monday, McCarthy notified Katz of his decision. On Wednesday, McCarthy praised Katz as an excellent legislator and said he had “earned the right to take a shot at Congress or some statewide office.” Katz, who plans to endorse McCarthy, said he had no interest in another statewide office.
Some Democrats privately have speculated that Katz next year would run for the seat held by state Sen. Alan Robbins (D-Tarzana) if Robbins runs for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors or some other office. Katz cautioned that such a decision would be premature. “I’m not sure that’s open yet,” Katz said.
Katz said he would keep alive his campaign committee for lieutenant governor, which so far has raised just $650, and form another for the Assembly contest, which would receive first priority for funds. By not dissolving his campaign committee for lieutenant governor, Katz left the door slightly ajar for a race should McCarthy change his mind.
“There’s always a possibility that something may change between now and the filing next year. If it did, I’d still be interested in the office,” Katz said.
Katz also said he would not cancel meetings, receptions and fund-raising events that he had scheduled in San Diego, Orange County and Northern California as part of his statewide campaign.