Goodbye Tom Steyer: We hardly knew ye

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Hedge fund billionaire and environmental activist Tom Steyer says he won’t run for Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat in 2016. That could make things a little easier for state Attorney General Kamala Harris, the one Democrat so far to commit to the race.

Steyer – a Bay Area businessman and climate change activist – says he seriously considered making a run for the Senate. But Steyer says he believes he can do more as a private citizen to promote environmental, education and economic issues.kamalaharris_

Steyer was considered to be a potentially formidable challenger to Harris. The 57-year-old has no political experience and limited name recognition. But he has a huge bank account, and he’s been more than willing to spend money on political causes. Last year, Steyer gave more than $70-million to candidates who campaigned to fight global warming.

charlesmunger_300Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has said that he won’t run for Boxer’s seat.With Steyer bowing out, attention shifts to former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as a possible challenger to Harris. Villaraigosa has been reaching out to Democratic Party officials and fundraisers about a possible bid. But he still hasn’t made a formal announcement. Meanwhile, San Fernando Valley Congressman Adam Schiff said yesterday that he might enter the race.Mayors-Antonio-Villaraigosa.jpg_full_380

Possible Republican candidates include Neel Kashari – who lost to Jerry Brown in last year’s governor’s race, Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. There’s also a push among some in the state GOP to enlist the deep pocketed Charles Munger Jr., a Stanford physicist and conservative activist.