Despite surviving a well-publicized recall attempt, Assemblyman Anthony Adams announced in January that he wouldn't be seeking a third term in office in June.


"It was important for me to defeat the recall," said Adams on Friday. "I was inclined to want to leave on my own terms, and you can't do that with a recall hanging over your head, and it was a very opportune time."


The recall, spearheaded by Orange County conservatives, was in response to the Republican assemblyman's February 19, 2009 yes vote on a budget compromise that included $12 billion in tax hikes.


But on November 20, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced that the recall attempt had failed to collect the required number of valid signatures and that there would be no special election held to recall Adams, who represents the 59th assembly district. But six weeks later, Adams announced that he would be bowing out of the race anyway.


"I feel very confident in my ability to win a campaign if I was inclined to run, but I feel like I was called to serve at a time when California faced some of its most difficult decisions in its history," Adams said. "That work is done, and I feel like it's time for me and my wife to pursue other interests."


When Bowen announced that the recall failed, Adams almost immediately heard from would-be campaign contributors now eager to donate to his 2010 campaign, he said. Likewise, his staff was ready to look forward to Election Day as well.


"One of the most difficult decisions was letting people down who were anxious and ready to get going again."


The recall attempt didn't hurt his chances for a reelection, he said.


"I think that the voters who were upset about my budget vote last year didn't need a recall to be upset," said Adams. "I firmly believe in the work that I do in Sacramento, [and] I'm incredibly honored to have been called to serve. ... But like our good friend in Massachusetts [Senator-Elect Scott Brown] said, it's not an Anthony Adams seat, it's the people's seat."


Adams will serve out the rest of his term -- meaning he'll be an assemblyman through December -- and now his phone rings with would-be successors seeking advice and endorsements.


"Oh my gosh, you have no idea how many I've already received," he said. "But if you're not out working it right now, it's going to be difficult."


At this point, he has not thrown his support behind any of the candidates seeking his seat.


"The focus of my work needs to be on the budget and things that are going on in Sacramento."


Adams is keeping his specific ambitions for after he leaves office to himself for now.


"My biggest desire right now is just to go out and pursue a lot of the things that I've put on hold," he said. Being an assemblyman "literally is a seven-day a week job. And it's not just the sheer amount of work, but it's the uncertainty of your own schedule. ... It can be hard on a family."


The 59th assembly district includes Hesperia, Apple Valley, Lake Arrowhead, Crestline, San Bernardino, Highland, Mentone, Claremont, La Verne, Glendora, San Dimas, Sierra Madre, Monrovia, Bradbury, Arcadia and La Crescenta.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/HesperiaStar.