California Treasurer John Chiang decides against US Senate bid

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LOS ANGELES — California Treasurer John Chiang has decided not to seek Barbara Boxer's U.S. Senate seat, the latest prominent Democrat to sidestep the unfolding 2016 contest.

Chiang, a former two-term state controller before he captured the treasurer's post in November, had been among more than a dozen potential contenders for the seat that Boxer plans to vacate at the end of her term.

Chiang, a Democrat, plans to focus on his new position and creating jobs in the state, adviser Parke Skelton said.

Two other well-known Democrats are also out: On Thursday, billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer said he won't seek the seat, and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier decided to stay out of the contest. Both are considered possible candidates for governor in 2018.

Boxer's exit will create the first open Senate seat in California in a generation. The only established candidate so far — Attorney General Kamala Harris — launched her campaign earlier this month. Among her potential rivals: former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is expected to make a decision soon.

Democrats are well-positioned to retain the Boxer seat in a state where the party controls every statewide office and both chambers in the Legislature.

Tom Del Beccaro and Duf Sundheim, two former chairmen of the California Republican Party, are also considering runs for the office.

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