Is veteran Sacramento news anchor Walt Gray considering a challenge to Republican Rep. Tom McClintock in the 4th Congressional District?
Gray, who is not affiliated with a political party, called the possibility of a run "premature."
But the television personality and motorcycle enthusiast said he believes the Northern California district represented by McClintock is full of citizens concerned that their voices are not being heard. "I've been contacted by some of them about my interest in running for Congress," Gray confirmed in response to an inquiry from The Bee.
In the carefully worded email Tuesday, Gray said while he's never held elective office, "I think that's a positive. People want fresh ideas."
Gray spent 24 years as an anchor and reporter at KCRA-TV and made a brief stint in radio hosting the morning show on 96.9 The Eagle before returning to the television airwaves at KXTV-TV, where he works as an anchor-reporter. He also is known for his Walt Gray Ride, an annual motorcycle trek benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
"I've always had a strong advisory group of rogues, friends and motorcyclists to raise money for charity and assist in all my endeavors in Sacramento the past 26 years," he wrote. "Should I need them ... they're here."
McClintock, a conservative stalwart, represented Ventura-area districts in the state Legislature and periodically mounted unsuccessful runs for statewide office, including for controller, lieutenant governor and governor. He won a close congressional race in 2008 and since then has cruised to re-election. His Elk Grove home remains outside of the Foothill-based 4th district.
4th Congressional District
Gray, whose Land Park home is also outside the 4th district, said he's nonetheless spent "countless hours ... years really" reporting on news events and riding his motorcycle from town to town there. "It's one of my favorite places in the world to spend time in," he said.
Gray added that his father, Walt Gray, Sr., served two terms as a state senator in Rhode Island.
"Politics is hard job," Gray said. "You have to be all in."
PHOTO: Anchor Walt Gray rides down J Street during Saturday's car cruise through the streets of Midtown in Sacramento on July 30, 2010. The Sacramento Bee/Jose Luis Villegas