Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin is still mulling a run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Barbara Boxer, who won’t seek reelection next year.
Most political watchers expect Swearengin to pass on the run. Tim Clark, her consultant, has said time and again that Swearengin is more of an executive than a legislator, and a Democratic candidate — be it state Attorney General Kamala Harris or another — is strongly favored to win the race to replace Boxer.
That leaves those speculating about Swearengin’s future to look beyond 2016, when she reaches her mayoral term limit.
Clark has hinted at the possibility of another statewide run in 2018, but others are saying don’t overlook a possible job in Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration.
Yes, Brown is a Democrat and Swearengin a Republican, but those that consider such possibilities are busy building evidence — all of it circumstantial.
For instance, Swearengin didn’t endorse her fellow Republican, Neel Kashkari, who faced Brown in last year’s gubernatorial race. And Brown didn’t endorse Swearengin’s state controller opponent, fellow Democrat Betty Yee.
Last week, Swearengin made a Sacramento day trip for Brown’s fourth-term inauguration. Yee wasn’t at the inauguration. The following day, Brown was in Fresno for the high-speed rail groundbreaking, where he had another chance to powwow with the mayor.
Or how about looking to the distant past. In August 2000, Swearengin was appointed interim executive director of the Central California Futures Institute, which was a think tank that looked at major issues affecting the region. When Swearengin was appointed, the Futures Institute board chair was Diana Dooley, who is now a key member of the Brown administration as secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency.
Clark, a Republican consultant, didn’t dismiss the possibility, because as he said, Swearengin “is well positioned to do a lot of things.
“She works extremely well with people of all partisan stripes,” he said. “I just think she has a lot of options. She is extremely well positioned because of her relationships.”
That said, Clark said he’s never heard any specific discussions about Swearengin taking a job in the Brown administration.