When Curt Pringle steps down as Anaheim mayor in December, his 20-year career in elected office will officially be over.

At least that’s what he’s telling anyone who asks him about his future these days.

“I don’t envision ever running for anything again,” he said during an interview for this story on the void he will leave behind in Anaheim when he leaves.

But Pringle’s role in government still appears far from over.

He remains chairman of the California High Speed Rail Authority, which is trying to create a $43 billion bullet-style train system to run from Anaheim to San Francisco. Earlier this year he indicated he’d like Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to reappoint him as head of the rail board.

Pringle’s term on the board officially ends in February 2011, two months after Schwarzenegger leaves office. But if one of the other eight members should resign, or a vacancy arises for other reasons, creating a way for the governor to move Pringle into an open seat, he might get his term on the board extended for four years.

How long does Schwarzenegger have to make appointments before his successor takes over?

The California Constitution, article 5, section 2, says:

The Governor shall be elected every fourth year at the same time and places as members of the Assembly and hold office from the Monday after January 1 following the election until a successor qualifies.

Next year, the Monday after Jan. 1 is Jan. 3.

In addition to being mayor of Anaheim for eight years, Pringle has been a Republican member of the state Assembly and was Assembly speaker in 1996. In 1998 he unsuccessfully ran for state Treasurer.

What about governor?

A race like that in California costs a huge amount of money, Pringle noted. This year, Republican Meg Whitman has spent a record $119 million of her own money, and Democrat Jerry Brown has raised about $28 million.

Besides, said the fast-moving Pringle, “I don’t quite know if a guy like me could get elected governor.”

Correction: Due to inaccurate information provided on the Orange County Transportation Authority’s website, a previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Curt Pringle’s term as a OCTA director expires in 2011. His term expires in 2010.


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