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Son Of Condit

As Congressman Gary Condit's public image scraped closer and closer to bottom last summer, his grown children, Candee and Chad, suddenly stepped into the spotlight.

They made the usual comments loyal family members would make about a loved one in the center of a scandal - in this case, Condit's relationship with intern Chandra Levy, who is still missing today.

Candee and Chad - who are both in politics and refer to their dad as "Gary Condit," instead of using any fatherly title - said they believe in him and don't believe he had anything to do with Levy's disappearance.

But as the two made the rounds of talk shows and reporters, some couldn't help wondering if the second generation of Condits was working up to making a political announcement or two of their own.

Wednesday, Chad Condit, who earlier this year abandoned plans to run for the state assembly, filed a notice of intent to run for the 12th Senate District currently held by Sen. Dick Monteith of Modesto.

Monteith, as it happens, is the Republican who's running for the Congressional seat now held by Democrat Gary Condit, according to another batch of papers filed with election officials on Wednesday.

"We were all kind of wondering what was going on," said Tom Hallinan, a Modesto attorney who filed papers and a $990 fee with the Stanislaus County Clerk-Recorder to run for the 26th Assembly seat.

Hallinan said he saw a copy of the papers Condit filed for Senate.

Condit, 33, recently quit his $110,000 a year job in the governor's office to protest critical remarks Gov. Gray Davis made about his father. Davis, a close Condit ally and friend, said he was disappointed that Condit had not been more forthcoming in public about his relationship with Levy, a 24-year-old who disappeared in Washington, D.C., in May.

In recent weeks, Chad Condit has been collecting signatures for his father's re-election bid even though Rep. Condit has still not announced whether he will seek another term.

In a stark illustration of how the Condit machine has collapsed, local Democrats said Chad Condit was likely to face Rusty Areias, head of state parks, and a former Condit crony.

Areias was a member of the infamous Gang of Five that Gary Condit led in protest of Assembly Speaker Willie Brown when they all were in state Legislature in the 1980s.

Just six months ago, all this would have seemed improbable. The Condit machine, running strong for more than a decade, was realigning political seats to account for term limits and make room for the next generation.

Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza, a former Condit aide who could not seek re-election because of term limits, planned to run for the 12th Senate district carved out for him by state Democratic leaders.

Chad Condit, a former aide to Cardoza, was expected to run for Cardoza's vacant 26th district Assembly seat.

Then Chandra Levy vanished and Congressman Condit's political future was punctuated with a big question mark. He's not suspect in her disappearance, but he admitted having an extramarital affair with her, police sources said.

Cardoza, D-Atwater, and Monteith, who had said they wouldn't challenge Condit, both announced they would run for the seat.

"Everything's been in flux around here," said Hallinan. "It's been that kind of year: A strange confluence of events for everybody."

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