Tom Campbell to speak in San Diego about switching to Senate race

Former Rep. Tom Campbell is scheduled to speak in San Diego Friday to conclude a two-day, four-city tour staged to explain his switch from the Republican gubernatorial primary to the Senate race.

Campbell criticized rising federal spending Thursday in announcing his campaign for the seat held by Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer.

“Every day brings more evidence of the need for fiscal restrain in Washington, and the huge danger to our country from printing money,” Campbell said. “Truly, in my lifetime, I have never seen the growth of federal government spending more out of control.”

Campbell drew criticism from the campaigns of both his rivals for the Republican Senate nomination – Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, and former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina – for supporting tax increases.

During last spring’s special election, he supported Proposition 1A, which would have extended tax increases for two years, and he proposed temporarily raising the gasoline tax by 32 cents per gallon.

DeVore said he respects Campbell “as a substantive and well-intentioned participant in California politics,” then listed his differences with him.

“We don’t agree on much – he wants to raise taxes and I think they’re too high,” DeVore said. “He’s pro-abortion and I’m pro-life. He’s a moderate-left politician and I’m a proven conservative leader.”

Fiorina’s deputy campaign manager, Julie Soderlund, said Campbell’s decision to run for the Senate marks the beginning of a “farewell tour.”

“Tom’s unending quest for statewide office has nothing to do with serving the people of California; rather it’s about satisfying Tom Campbell’s quixotic personal ambition and the false premise that he will be acceptable to Republican primary voters,” she said. “California Republicans won’t vote for a proponent of higher taxes and more government.”

Campbell has made two previous Senate runs. He finished second behind Bruce Herschensohn in a three-way Republican primary in 1992. He won the Republican primary in 2000, but lost to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in the general election.

Boxer campaign spokesman Jeff Millman could not be reached for comment.

Campbell left the Republican gubernatorial race acknowledging he could not compete with two wealthy rivals – former eBay Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman and Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

Campbell represented portions of the Silicon Valley in Congress from 1989-93 and 1995-2001 and in the state Senate from 1993-1995. He was the director of the California Department of Finance from 2004-05.

The Chicago-born Campbell, who has a doctoral degree in economics from the University of Chicago and graduated from Harvard Law School, was also the dean of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and a law professor at Stanford University.

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