Crowded GOP Primary Field Vies to Replace Doolittle
Now that Representative John Doolittle has said he won’t run for re-election this year, a rare California Congressional seat has opened up. The Democrats already have their candidate, but Republicans are headed for a jam-packed primary.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Whether you like him or not, John Doolittle had a pretty cushy job – at least, until he faced legal questions. His voting record fit nicely with a district the non-partisan Cook Political Report rates as 11 percent more Republican than average. Tony Quinn analyzes legislative races for the California Target Book.
Quinn: “If you’re a Republican looking at a nice long career in Congress, this is a district where – so long as you don’t have any personal problems and as long as you basically vote the basic Republican line – you have a lifetime job.”
So with Doolittle stepping down, a lot of high-profile GOP candidates have their eyes on the job. Roseville Assemblyman Ted Gaines had already formed an exploratory committee; former State Senator Rico Oller declared his candidacy hours after Doolittle spoke; and former Congressman Doug Ose is reportedly seriously considering the race. Assuming Ose runs, Republican consultant Jeff Flint says the big question becomes Ted Gaines. Flint says Gaines and Oller would compete for votes – and …
Flint: “That dramatically increases the chances of Doug Ose winning the primary because you have two strong conservative candidates. If you only have one conservative candidate against Ose, who is generally considered a little bit more moderate, that district on the natural is more likely to elect the conservative in a Republican primary.”
Two lesser-known Republicans are in as well: Air Force reservist Eric Egland and former Auburn Mayor Mike Holmes.
Awaiting the winner of the June 5th primary will be Democrat Charlie Brown. He narrowly lost to Doolittle in 2006, and the national party had high hopes for a rematch. Brown won’t get that rematch, but so far, no Democrat has stepped in to challenge him.