Jeff Grover, Stanislaus County's longest-serving supervisor, won't seek re-election in the spring and will support Bill Lyons to succeed him in District 3.
District 4 Supervisor Dick Monteith will run for a second term in June, he said Thursday.
Lyons, a former state food and agriculture secretary, joined Grover on Wednesday as Grover announced his political exit to a group of about 70 supporters. Also attending was former Supervisor Nick Blom, whom Grover replaced when Blom stepped aside in 2002.
"My family has lived and worked in this area for over 85 years," said Lyons, a for- mer county farm bureau president whose résumé includes service with the Modesto Irrigation District and Doctors Medical Center. "We've invested in the county personally, and I think I can make a positive contribution to the county's future."
Modesto certified public accountant Terry Withrow said he's considering a run for Grover's seat and likely will decide after Thanksgiving.
Grover, who owns an industrial contracting company, will give up the rigors of public office to devote energy to his businesses, he said Thursday.
Although the primary election is in June, Grover's term runs through the end of 2010 and he is in line to be Board of Supervisors chairman that year.
Grover, 53, and Lyons, 59, were recipients of high praise from U.S. Rep. Dennis Cardoza, who attended Wednesday's gathering at Del Rio Country Club.
"I can say unequivocally that no one works harder and is more dedicated to his community than Jeff Grover," Cardoza, a Merced Democrat, said Thursday. "Jeff has been one of the most solid representatives I've ever worked with. He has incredible integrity, and I'm huge fan of his.
"Bill did a fantastic job (in Gov. Davis' Cabinet) and I can't think of anybody better to replace Jeff Grover," Cardoza continued. "He doesn't do public service for the money; it's in his blood."
Economic development would be Lyons' top priority, he said.
District 3 includes Salida and areas west and northwest of Modesto.
Grover, a 1974 Modesto High School graduate, worked the next five years as a plumber before establishing his own business, called Solecon Industrial Contractors. He is a partner in a related mechanical engineering firm.
He captured a supervisor's seat in 2002 and won re-election four years later, both times beating Modesto City Schools Trustee Gary Lopez. Former Modesto City Councilman Bruce Frohman ran in 2006.
Things have changed since those campaigns, Grover said.
"When I decided to be involved in government, it was a completely different atmosphere," he said. "I'm interested in doing things to better the community, but the last two years we've spent most of our time triaging a patient that's very sick. That just doesn't suit my personality as well."
Grover lists among his accomplishments working closer with state and federal officials as well as those representing the county's nine cities. Other passions include paving the way for industrial growth and transportation improvements.
Grover envisions making behind-the-scenes contributions in the vein of late business leaders Kirk Lindsey and Bob Cardoza, who accomplished much outside the glare of elected office.
Having visited all 50 states and 55 countries, Grover looks forward to escaping the expectation that he'll be in town for meetings nearly every Tuesday. Grover and his high school girlfriend, Elaine, have been married 34 years and have three adult daughters.
Withrow, 49, and Blom, 71, are Republicans. Lyons is a Democrat. Grover, a former Republican, left the party and has declined to state affiliation since 1994. The office of county supervisor is nonpartisan.
Some speculated Grover might try to succeed state Sen. Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto, but Grover said he's not interested.
"I'm not part of a political party, and I don't want to be," Grover said. "I don't think you can get anywhere in state or federal government unless you're a part of that."
Monteith, 77, a former state senator, won his District 4 seat in 2006 over Modesto Councilwoman Janice Keating by 16 votes among more than 23,000 cast. His formal announcement is likely to come in mid-January, he said.
Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at gstapley@modbee. com or 578-2390.