Sonoma County Supervisor Mike McGuire turned down the chairmanship of the board Tuesday, saying the demands on his time are too great.

"The bottom line is that the county and the residents of the fourth district are my priority," he said after his surprise announcement at the start of the meeting.

McGuire, 34, is running for an open state senate seat. He declined to tie his decision directly to that campaign, though he did admit that was a draw on his limited time. He said he reached his decision last week after several weeks of thought.

"With the expectations I put on myself and the hours I put in, and running for state senate, my first priority needs to be the residents of the north county," he said.

Instead, the board turned to outgoing chairman David Rabbitt, who was elected to an unusual second consecutive term in the position, which normally rotates among the five members.

"I tried to talk Mike into being chair; he'd be a great chair ... (but) I think it was a good move for him, it was a smart way to go," Rabbitt said.

Rabbitt said he could not recall the last time a chairman had two consecutive terms holding the gavel in Sonoma County.

Supervisor Susan Gorin was elected vice chairwoman, positioning her to take the chair in 2015. She said she did briefly considering vying for the chairmanship this year after hearing of McGuire's decision.

"It crossed my mind for a fleeting second and I had that deer in a headlights look and I said, 'Um, I'm not ready for that," she said. "So I was anxious to work with David very closely and learn what his job is all about ... I am really comfortable with that."

You can reach Staff Writer Sean Scully at 521-5313 or On Twitter @BeerCountry.