Condoleezza Rice, director of Soviet and Eastern European affairs at the National Security Council, is being promoted by well-connected Republicans here and in California to fill the Senate term of California Gov.-elect Pete Wilson, GOP sources said here yesterday.
Spokesmen for both Rice and Wilson declined to discuss whether Rice was seeking the appointment or would get it, but a senior official here said she was on Wilson's short list of candidates because he wants to make "a bold statement" as he opens his term as governor.
Should she be appointed to the term, which runs until 1994, Rice, 35, would be the first black female senator and the only black senator. Currently on leave from the Stanford University faculty, she has never run for public office and has spurned previous requests by Republican officials to run for Congress from Palo Alto. A native of Alabama whose parents were Republicans, she moved to California after obtaining her doctorate in 1981.
According to GOP sources, Rice, who is due to leave the White House in January to return to her teaching post at Stanford, is being promoted by Richard Douglas, a prominent black Republican who is a senior executive in the agri-business area in California, and by James Lake, a Washington public relations executive with strong GOP ties here.
Otto Bos, a spokesman for Wilson's transition team, said the governor-elect has not focused on filling his unexpired term and he would not confirm Rice was a leading candidate.
Two prominent Republicans Wilson was known to have actively considered have taken themselves out of the running. They are former representative Ed Zschau, who wrote to Wilson saying he wanted to devote time to his business rather than return to politics, and State Senator Becky Morgan (R-Menlo Park), who wrote to Wilson saying she preferred remaining in the legislature.