The full statement from Phil Graham…
I declared my intent to run for California Assembly last summer because I got tired of California entrepreneurs looking to Texas or Nevada as friendlier places to do business. I’d seen one too many comparisons of California’s once-great education system to that of Mississippi. The California Dream had become something to reminisce about, rather than something to aspire to.
I wanted to go to Sacramento not only to contribute legislatively but to help grow the Republican Party. Decades of liberal policies have gotten us where we are today, and the way out is through electing more Republicans with fresh ideas and a commitment to reform. As I considered embarking on this journey, I felt I had the drive and the ability to make a difference.
As my campaign grew, and I raised more money than any other open seat candidate in the state, I was humbled by the thousands of Californians who shared my vision, donated to my campaign and endorsed my candidacy.
While my motivation for running for Assembly has not changed, nor my vision for a better California dimmed, 2016 is not my time.
Being part of a divisive and expensive intra-party fight that takes valuable resources away from electing Republicans is not in line with who I am politically and personally, and not how I want to enter elected office.
Rocky Chavez has led the efforts to expand our party among Latinos, and he still has much he can contribute in this regard as a member of the Assembly. I am leaving the race and supporting Rocky in his bid for re-election.
My experience these last nine months has only stoked my passion for public service. I’ll enter the 2018 election cycle with a quarter million dollar in my campaign account and the wisdom of my 2016 candidacy.
I owe a great debt of gratitude to my many supporters – a debt I hope to repay in the coming years.