Banker Kicks off Campaign for Calif. Governor by Criticizing Gov. Gray Davis

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A Republican investment banker announced he would run for governor Friday and questioned Gov. Gray Davis' judgment in announcing a possible terrorist threat to four California bridges.

"When you come out and make blanket statements that bridges might be attacked, that sends a certain level of panic and fear in people," said William E. Simon Jr. "If he had a basis upon which to make a statement I would like to know what that basis is."

A spokesman for Davis did not immediately return telephone calls. The Democratic incumbent filed papers Friday to run for re-election.

California Secretary of State Bill Jones is also seeking the Republican nomination, and Republican former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan is expected to announce Tuesday that he will also run.

Simon, 50, is the son of William E. Simon, who was treasury secretary during the Ford administration. Before starting an investment banking firm with his father and brother, Simon was an assistant U.S. attorney in New York.