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cressman.JPGThe field of possible contenders to succeed Debra Bowen as the state's chief elections officer is growing by the day.

Derek Cressman, an activist with the nonprofit Common Cause, told The Bee today he is "seriously considering" running for secretary of state in 2014, when Bowen will step down because of term limits.

Cressman said he is currently looking at whether he can fulfill existing commitments at the political watchdog group, which advocates for stricter campaign finance rules and increased transparency in politics, in time to launch a campaign for next year's election.

The Sacramento Democrat, a longtime critic of the role of money in politics, is currently leading a national effort to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision on campaign spending. He said his experience with Common Cause has prepared him to tackle problems with the state's campaign finance, voter and business filing system.

"Working over the last several years to improve California's voting systems and campaign finance issues, I have come to realize that the next secretary of state is going to be a really important job, probably more important than that job usually is, because there are a number of improvements that need to be made," Cressman said, adding he finds it "embarrassing for the home state of Silicon Valley to be so behind the times in the technology."

Democratic state Sens. Alex Padilla and Leland Yee have already announced plans to run, while several other Democrats have opened campaign committees to raise money for a possible 2014 campaign. Cressman, who ran for a spot on a proposed Sacramento Charter Commission that voters opted not to create last year, said he believes his role as an outsider will give him credibility with voters should he decide to run.

"California needs somebody who actually wants to be secretary of state, rather than using that office as a stepping stone for higher office or just a place to land after term limits," he said.

Padilla declares Secretary of State candidacy, will take on Yee
Democrat Leland Yee announces 2014 CA secretary of state bid

PHOTO CREDIT: Derek Cressman. Sacramento Bee file photo.


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