Pakistani American Asif Mahmood, who had announced his candidacy for lieutenant governor in California last March, Jan. 18 declared that he was dropping out of the race.
In making the announcement, the Los Angeles physician declared his candidacy for state insurance commissioner in lieu of lieutenant governor.
Prior to making the announcement, the candidate had raised more than $1 million for the race.
The insurance commissioner seat is vacant because current Commissioner Dave Jones is termed out and running for attorney general.
Mahmood said the change was an easy call, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“I want to help California succeed ... and I think the best fit is serving as insurance commissioner,” he said in the report, citing his years of experience in dealing with insurance companies in his medical practice. “My experience is better than anyone who has ever run for the office.”
Mahmood denied that political considerations played any part in his decision, even though he would have been facing three other well-financed candidates in the lieutenant governor’s race, with only the top two finishers advancing to the Nov. 6 general election, the Chronicle reported.
When Mahmood entered the race March 29 last year, he vowed to be a "triple threat to (President) Donald Trump."
“President Trump continues to attack people like me: immigrants, people of color and Muslims. California must be the epicenter of Trump resistance,” said Mahmood at the time (see India-West article here).
Mahmood told reporters and supporters that he was born in Kharian, a rural village in Pakistan. His father had always dreamed of becoming a doctor, but was forced to drop out of school at a young age to support his family. “My father passed his doctor’s dreams to me,” he said.
Mahmood went on from a government school that had no chairs or desks to a top medical school in Pakistan. He then completed his residency at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where he met his wife, Noshaba. In 2000, Mahmood’s family moved to California.