Assemblyman Umberg Plans Race Against Atty. Gen. Lungren

From a Times Staff Writer

Assemblyman Tom Umberg, Orange County's only Democrat in the Legislature, said Wednesday that he is planning a campaign next year to unseat state Atty. Gen. Dan Lungren.

Umberg, a former federal prosecutor, stopped short of officially launching his campaign, saying instead that he will form an exploratory committee and probably make a final decision in January about running for the office.

He declined to rule out the possibility that he might seek reelection to his Garden Grove Assembly seat. But he said he is confident that he will develop the support he needs to enter the race for attorney general.

"Quite frankly, I don't envision anything right now that would preclude me from announcing in January," Umberg said at a news conference in Santa Ana on Wednesday. "But we are making sure my expectations (of support) are fulfilled."

If he stays in the race, Umberg is expected to face San Francisco Dist. Atty. Arlo Smith in the June Democratic primary. Smith, who has already said he will run, narrowly lost the attorney general's race to Lungren in 1990.

Umberg won his first election to public office in 1990 when he unseated Assemblyman Curt Pringle (R-Garden Grove).

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