State schools chief Jack O’Connell will not be a candidate for governor next year, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
O’Connell, a Democrat, is barred from seeking a third four-year term as California’s superintendent of public instruction, and his gubernatorial ambitions have been closely watched by political insiders. A $1 million campaign contribution from Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings had fueled speculation that O’Connell would enter the Democratic Party primary against probable candidates Jerry Brown, the state attorney general and former governor, and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.
“After taking a good look at it, the stars just weren’t aligned this time,” O’Connell adviser Rick Miller told the Times, adding that O’Connell, 58, plans to take a break from politics.
O’Connell, a former teacher, spent 20 years representing Santa Barbara County in the Legislature. He served in the state Senate from 1994 to 2002 and in the Assembly from 1982 to 1994. He previously served on the county Board of Education.