Migden out as Approps Chair

Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, says she is taking a “temporary leave” from her role as chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Midgen says she is taking the leave to have more time to focus on Steve Westly’s gubernatorial campaign. She will remain in the Senate, but with a lighter work load.

“I’m going to be talking to [the Westly campaign], and I’m sure I’ll have some fancy title,” she said. “But I intend to spend a great deal of time day-to-day working on this campaign, and I wanted a minimal workload in the Senate during the next six months.

Migden said she expects to take back the Appropriations gavel after the June primary.

Speculation has swirled around Migden for months since she pressed the voting button of a Republican Assemblyman while she was on the Assembly floor earlier this year.

Migden has also had a hard time retaining staff. She describes herself as a demanding boss, and has a reputation for being among the toughest of Senators to work for. Recently, her chief of staff, Alan LoFaso, left Migden’s staff to take another state government job, but said he left Migden’s office “on great terms.”

Though she may be tough to work for, Migden is also considered one of the smartest, and most competent members of the Senate, and her fundraising prowess helps make her one of the most powerful.

Migden said that her choice to step aside from the powerful Appropriations Committee had more to do with gubernatorial politics than internal Senate politics.

“We, as Democrats, have cast out the moderates in our party,” she said. “To me, Westly is in the best position to attract some of those people back to our party.”

“Carole is a talented force in any operation, and her increased efforts on behalf of Steve Westly can only be seen as a boon for that organization,” said Perata in a statement Tuesday. “The Rules Committee will release details on Senate committee chairs, including Appropriations, later this week.”

Westly spokesman Nick Velasquez said the Westly campaign was “focused on the special election right now. We are looking into making an announcement regarding such matters after the special election.”

But, he said, “we’re delighted to have her intelligence and her dedication to public service, and she’ll be an asset to our campaign.”

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