State senator says he won’t run for Doolittle’s seat in Congress |

State senator says he won’t run for Doolittle’s seat in Congress

California State Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, put an end Tuesday to speculation that he will seek the Republican nomination for the 4th Congressional District.

Aanestad stood behind Rep. John Doolittle last week as the nine-term congressman announced his retirement. Shortly after Doolittle’s news conference, Aanestad’s name surfaced as one of a half-dozen Republican candidates for the 4th District, an area that comprises most of the counties Aanestad has represented as an assemblyman and senator.

The decision not to run, Aanestad said, “did not come lightly or easily.” But after taking the weekend to consider his options with his family, Aanestad said in a statement that “I’ve made what I consider to be the best decision.”

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent a great area – an area I call home – and it was exciting to consider a run for national office where I had considerable support,” said Aanestad, who has three years left in office.

On Monday, Assemblyman Ted Gaines announced that he would not make a challenge for Doolittle’s seat.

Gaines had formed an exploratory committee but on Monday said he would not run. The assemblyman, who has six children at home, cited family reasons and said he would remain in the state Legislature.

Doolittle, who is under scrutiny in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, announced last week that he would not seek a 10th term.

That leaves former state Sen. Rico Oller, reported to be Doolittle’s hand-picked successor, former Auburn Mayor Mike Holmes and Air Force reservist Eric Egland officially in the race.

Former GOP Rep. Doug Ose has said he was considering whether to run.

The Republican victor is likely to face Democrat Charlie Brown, who as a little-known first-time candidate in 2006 narrowly lost to Doolittle, 46 percent to 49 percent.

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