Condit's Son Launches Bid for State Senate

The son of Rep. Gary Condit, who scuttled plans to run for the state Senate after his father became embroiled in the Chandra Levy scandal, reversed course Wednesday and decided he will run for the seat.

Chad Condit filed a notice of intent to run for the 12th Senate District currently held by Sen. Dick Monteith, R-Modesto, who is running for the elder Condit's Congressional seat, according to others candidates filing papers at the same time.

"We were all kind of wondering what was going on," said Tom Hallinan, a Modesto attorney who filed papers and a $990 fee with the Stanislaus County Clerk-Recorder to run for the 26th Assembly seat.

Hallinan said he saw a copy of the papers Condit filed for Senate.

Condit, 33, recently quit his $110,000 a year job in the governor's office to protest critical remarks Gov. Gray Davis made about his father. Davis, a close Condit ally and friend, said he was disappointed that Condit had not been more forthcoming in public about his relationship with Levy, a 24-year-old who disappeared in Washington, D.C., in May.

In recent weeks, Chad Condit has been collecting signatures for his father's re-election bid even though Rep. Condit has still not announced whether he will seek another term.

Chad Condit could not immediately be reached for comment by The Associated Press.

In a stark illustration of how the Condit machine has collapsed, local Democrats said Chad Condit was likely to face Rusty Areias, head of state parks, and a former Condit crony.

Areias was a member of the infamous Gang of Five that Gary Condit led in protest of Assembly Speaker Willie Brown when they all were in state Legislature in the 1980s.

Just six months ago, all this would have seemed improbable. The Condit machine, running strong for more than a decade, was realigning political seats to account for term limits and make room for the next generation.

Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza, a former Condit aide who could not seek re-election because of term limits, planned to run for the 12th Senate district carved out for him by state Democratic leaders.

Chad Condit, a former aide to Cardoza, was expected to run for Cardoza's vacant 26th district Assembly seat.

Then Chandra Levy vanished and Congressman Condit's political future was punctuated with a big question mark. He's not a suspect in her disappearance, but he admitted having an extramarital affair with her, police sources said.

Cardoza, D-Atwater, and Monteith, who had said they wouldn't challenge Condit, both announced they would run for the seat.

With Cardoza running for Congress, a number of candidates have jumped at the chance to fill his seat and the Senate seat that had been tailor-made for him.

Other Democrats running for the seat include Larry Morse, an assistant Merced County prosecutor, and Modesto lawyer Armando Flores. It was not immediately clear who was running for the Republican nomination.

Flores, 50, who filed papers at the same time as Chad Condit, said the clerk's office was crowded with candidates trying to beat Wednesday's deadline to declare for state office.

Hallinan, also a Democrat, said he recently decided to run for Cardoza's current seat because of all the political upheaval.

"Everything's been in flux around here," Hallinan said. "It's been that kind of year: A strange confluence of events for everybody."