Tom Campbell exits governor's race

January 14, 2010 8:19:03 PM PST
Former Bay Area Congressman Tom Campbell told audiences around the state Thursday he is dropping out of the governor's race and running instead for the U.S. Senate.

Campbell putting an end to speculation over why he dropped out of the governor's contest and switched to the Senate race instead.

"It was clear to me that I no longer had the opportunity in the primary for governor," he said.

Campbell said in the governor's race, he was slipping in the polls behind former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and he couldn't get his fundraising up to speed against Whitman or insurance commissioner Steve Poizner; both have poured $19 million into their respective campaigns.

"There was a reluctance to help me in the governor's race because of the size of the individual war chest of my Republican friends," Campbell said.

But Campbell says that is not the case in the Senate race. A poll conducted by his campaign spokesperson shows Campbell at 31 percent, Carly Fiorina's at 15 percent and Orange County Assemblyman Chuck DeVore at 12 percent.

In Santa Cruz Thursday afternoon Fiorina went on the attack. The former head of Hewlett Packard told attendees of a business conference that Campbell wants to raise taxes. She elaborated in an interview with ABC7.

"His view of how to balance the budget in California is to increase the gas tax by 32 cents a gallon, I just profoundly disagree with that," she said.

Campbell responded by saying that proposed gas tax was in response to a budget shortfall in California.

"I'm telling you my pragmatic solutions for the United States do not include tax increases," he said.

And Campbell says with a strong lead in the polls, it is natural for his opponents to attack.

"I need to focus on the economic issues; we're spending too much money, it's unfair to our children and my record is absolutely solid in not wasting tax payers' money," Campbell said.

"Campbell's other opponent in the primary is DeVore, a social conservative with support from the tea party Republicans. He feels Campbell will pull support away from Fiorina, saying he did not think there was room in the race for two moderates from Silicon Valley.