NU Online News Service, Sept. 20, 6:08 p.m. – California Insurance Commissioner Harry W. Low says he will not seek election as insurance commissioner in 2002.

Low, a retired appellate court judge and former president of the San Francisco Police Commission, replaced Charles Quackenbush as commissioner in September 2000.

Quackenbush first took office in 1994. Voters elected him to a second four-year term in 1998. But Quackenbush ended up resigning two years later, after critics attacked his handling of millions of dollars in earthquake insurance settlement funds.

Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, appointed Low to serve out the remaining two years of his predecessor’s term.

Low says in a statement that Davis asked him to “restore confidence in the Department of Insurance, to protect consumers and to maintain stability and healthy competition in the insurance marketplace.”

Low says he believes staying out of the commissioner campaign should help him do a better job of focusing on improving the department.

“This is not a stop sign, but rather a green light,” Low says.

Low also thanked all of his supporters, and particularly supporters in the Asian community who had encouraged him to seek a four-year term.

When Davis appointed Low insurance commissioner, he became California’s highest-ranking Asian-American political figure.