Cogdill says he won't seek second term

SACRAMENTO — State Sen. Dave Cogdill said Tuesday he will not seek a second term so he can return to the private sector.

The announcement comes a day after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger confirmed that Cogdill, R-Modesto, was on his short list for lieutenant governor. The governor told the The Fresno Bee editorial board that he will announce his pick within two weeks to replace Democrat John Garamendi, who was elected to Congress last week.

However, Cogdill's announcement is not related to the lieutenant governor search, said Sabrina Demayo Lockhart, his press secretary. Rather, she said, the senator feels comfortable leaving after his first term because he has achieved his top priority of passing water-bond legislation that could include money for a dam near Fresno. The Cogdill-authored bill still requires voter approval.

"This would have been his decision regardless of the vacancy in the lieutenant governor's office," Lockhart said. "He's honored that the governor would consider him, and certainly if a position were offered, he would take it under consideration. But that's just speculation at this point."

In his statement, Cogdill said he wanted to spend more time with his family, including his two grandchildren.

"As any grandparent will tell you, little ones grow up too fast and time with my beautiful family is precious," he said.

Cogdill, whose district includes eastern Fresno County, on Monday celebrated the $11 billion water bond bill at an event at Millerton Lake. He stood alongside the governor and farm leaders, who have pushed for the bill for years. Cogdill called the bill the "pinnacle of my legislative career."

His year got off to a rough start when colleagues ousted him as Senate GOP leader in February as punishment for signing off on a budget deal that included tax hikes. He was blasted by conservative Web sites. But in Sacramento, his reputation remained solid and he helped lead his party through negotiations on the water deal.

The governor in a statement praised Cogdill as an "extraordinary public servant" and credited him for fighting "tirelessly for the last three years to reform the state's water infrastructure."

Senate GOP leader Dennis Hollingsworth, who ousted Cogdill as leader, said in a statement that Cogdill's "civility and integrity … are second to none."

Cogdill, 58, a real estate appraiser by trade, did not elaborate on what career he will pursue in the private sector. A former Modesto City Council member, he was elected to Assembly in 2000 and to the Senate's 14th District in 2006.

The heavily Republican district runs from Kings Canyon National Park through eastern Fresno County and Clovis, north to Lodi.

Republican candidate Heidi Fuller had filed papers to challenge Cogdill in the 2010 primary and now she is the lone GOP candidate. Fuller, of Columbia — a small town near Sonora — is a former utility industry consultant, according to her Web site. Another possible candidate is Assembly Member Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto. He did not return calls for comment.

Cogdill's announcement comes just a couple weeks after another Valley Republican — first-term Assembly Member Danny Gilmore of Hanford — said he was leaning against running again.