Three-term Ventura County Supervisor James Dougherty has decided to end his reelection race, saying it is "time to move over for somebody else."
Dougherty, whose 4th Supervisorial District in the eastern end of Ventura County spans Simi Valley, Moorpark, Somis and the unincorporated area of the Santa Rosa Valley, has been in office since 1978.
The 55-year-old supervisor had repeatedly committed himself to seeking a fourth term. But Dougherty said this week that he had a sudden change of heart.
"I've accomplished a lot of things that I wanted to. It's just a logical time to say that's enough," Dougherty said. "It's time to move over for somebody else."
Dougherty said he has no specific plans, except to travel to Peru to visit his son. He did not rule out a future bid for public office.
"What I really want to do is finish my 10 months and take some time off," he said.
Dougherty's decision stunned fellow board members and officials who had heard that Dougherty seemed committed to his reelection campaign. Last July, he publicly reaffirmed his plans to run.
"It came out of the blue," said Supervisor John Flynn. "I'm surprised that he's not running."
City officials who have worked with Dougherty said they had expected the supervisor to seek another term.
"I was surprised because he made a big deal that he was going to run again," Simi Valley Mayor Greg Stratton said.
Twice chairman of the five-member Board of Supervisors, Dougherty took office as a self-described fiscal conservative. A former probation officer and Simi Valley councilman, he backed Proposition 13 and has continued to advocate frugal county spending.
"Probably one of the biggest things is he's been the financial watchdog of the board, and he's done that very well," Supervisor Maggie Erickson said.
In his own district, Dougherty is credited with helping to find the money to build a county courthouse in Simi Valley and for an expansion of Moorpark's sewage treatment plant, officials in the two cities said.
Dougherty has been supervisor long enough to see the composition of the board change significantly. The all-male panel that Dougherty joined in 1978 today includes three women and fewer business representatives, he said.
Although he easily won reelection twice before, Dougherty predicted that the contest for the district seat would be more of a dogfight without the incumbent.
Four people have initiated the filing procedure for Dougherty's seat. The deadline is March 14.
Simi Valley council members Vicky Howard, 56, a former real estate broker, and Bill Davis, 62, a former police officer, took out papers after Dougherty's announcement.
Two other potential candidates are Glen Schmidt, 60, a Rocketdyne Division engineer who is a Moorpark planning commissioner, and Timothy Kalemkarian, a Moorpark resident.
Schmidt was a Ventura County supervisor from 1971 to 1975. In his second bid for a supervisorial seat, Schmidt was defeated by Ted Grandsen, a former supervisor who had served before Dougherty.
Kalemkarian declined to specify his age or his employment. Kalemkarian said he will run as an antiabortion, pro-growth candidate.