|Gavin Newsom, left, and his ex-wife, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom|
Newsom probably figured he cannot raise the mega
amounts of cash that will be spent on this race.
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that he will not run for the seat of retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), becoming one of the highest-profile Democrats to remove his name from consideration and clearing the way for state Attorney General Kamala Harris (D), a possible contender and close ally.
"It's always better to be candid than coy," Newsom said in a statement on his Facebook page. "While I am humbled by the widespread encouragement of so many and hold in the highest esteem those who serve us in federal office, I know that my head and my heart, my young family's future, and our unfinished work all remain firmly in the State of California — not Washington D.C. Therefore I will not seek election to the U.S. Senate in 2016."
The decision by Newsom, a rising star, will stoke fresh questions about whether Harris, another up-and-coming politician, will run. Newsom and Harris are close, leading some to conclude that they would not both enter the field reports the Washington Post.
With Newsom out of the picture, Harris will be regarded by many as an early frontrunner if she make a bid.
Newsom's name has also been mentioned as a potential candidate for governor in 2018.
Boxer, who has been in the Senate since 1993, announced last week that this would be her final term.
Other Democrats have expressed interest in running.
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) said in a Facebook post Sunday that he is weighing a run for Boxer's seat.
"The urgency of the needs of the people of this great state have convinced me to seriously consider looking at running for California's open Senate seat," he said.
Another possible Democratic candidate is billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, state Senate President Kevin de Leon and Facebook executive Sheryl Sandburg, all Democrats, have said they will not run for Boxer's seat.
Members of the state's large congressional delegation may also consider a run.
California uses an all-party primary system in which the top two vote-getters in the primary advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation.