Democrats Criticize Condit's Re-Election Bid

Even though the war on terror has wiped away headlines about Rep. Gary Condit, D- Calif., and his relationship with a missing 24-year-old woman, no one has forgotten.

And now, Democratic leaders who long remained silent on Condit's political future are urging him to retire.

Marcelino Martinez, chairman of San Joaquin County Democrats, said his committee does not support Condit and he hopes he withdraws.

Robert Haden, chairman of the Merced County Democratic Central Committee, said he was inspired to write to Condit after learning the seven-term representative had begun collecting signatures to get his name on the March primary ballot.

"I assumed that he realized his ability to be re-elected and to continue his political career had ended or at least was seriously jeopardized," Haden said. "Never in my wildest imagination did I think those plans were going to be running for re-election."

Condit began gauging his re-election chances last month and re-opened his campaign office to collect signatures to qualify for another run.  One of his friends, Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza, had said he would oppose Condit in the Democratic primary.

Condit's popularity has plunged since the Chandra Levy scandal unfolded this summer.

While police say Condit is not a suspect in Levy's disappearance from Washington, D.C. on April 30,  police sources said Condit admitted to them he was romantically involved with the intern.

The Stanislaus County committee and labor councils in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties which Condit represents have not publicly criticized him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.