LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Rep. Gary Condit considers re-election ``a real possibility,'' despite the furor over his relationship with missing intern Chandra Levy, a campaign consultant said.
Condit began collecting petition signatures this week, campaign consultant Richard Ross told the Los Angeles Times in Wednesday's editions.
Condit aides in Washington and California did not return calls by The Associated Press.
Condit has never said publicly whether he plans to run for re-election but Ross said he expects a full campaign, including public appearances, to get under way next month.
California law allows major party congressional candidates to qualify for the ballot either by paying $1,451 or obtaining the signatures of 3,000 registered voters.
Condit was considered to have a lock on re-election until his relationship with Levy surfaced. The 24-year-old woman from Condit's district vanished May 1 from her Washington apartment.
Condit, 53, is not considered a suspect in her disappearance. He has acknowledged having an extramarital affair with Levy, according to a police source.
Condit has been abandoned by some leading Democrats, including House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt and California Gov. Gray Davis, his longtime friend and political ally. Several California newspapers have called for his resignation.