Reiner Says He Won’t Run for Governor Next Year

Times Staff Writer

Ending months of speculation, filmmaker Rob Reiner said Wednesday that he will not run against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in next year’s election because he is worried that it would take too much time away from his family.

“This is a decision that has taken me a while to come to,” Reiner said. “Essentially, I’ve been having a lot of discussions with my wife and family. I have young children, and they really are not all that keen on me doing this right now. They know what’s involved, and they know how difficult it can be.”

Reiner -- who has two sons, 14 and 12, and a daughter, 7 -- said he would not rule out running for public office when his children are older.


The filmmaker has been active in politics for more than a decade, working on initiatives to improve education and healthcare for children in California.

Recently, some politicos speculated that Reiner, who came out strongly against Schwarzenegger’s special election in November, would join Phil Angelides, state treasurer, and Steve Westly, state controller, in the Democratic race to challenge the Republican governor next year.

Intrigued by the speculation, Reiner said, he brought up the idea recently to his family. But he said his two youngest children -- who used to go to school with Schwarzenegger’s children -- became tearful and urged him not to enter the race.

Reiner said he thought that it would be “disingenuous” to fight for better education for youngsters in California while ignoring his own children’s concerns.

His decision did not come as a surprise to political observers.

Democratic campaign strategist Bill Carrick said he did not expect Reiner to run this time but believed he would be a serious contender if he ever does. “I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t run a competitive campaign,” he said.

But Reiner took a bruising in a recent Field poll that showed, although he is well-known among state voters, he is not necessarily well-liked. A quarter of the surveyed voters like Reiner, but 41% have an unfavorable view of him.

Reiner said he wasn’t concerned. “These things go up and down,” he said.

For now, Reiner plans to focus on his June ballot initiative, which calls for free, voluntary, part-day preschool for all California 4-year-olds.

Reiner’s Preschool for All Act would impose an additional 1.7% state tax on annual incomes of more than $800,000 for couples and more than $400,000 for individuals. The measure, affecting about 100,000 filers, would raise about $2.3 billion annually.

Reiner plans to spend the coming months rallying support for the initiative. Although he has the support of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, he is taking heat from some business leaders who have vowed to fight the tax increase.