The news Thursday night that California Republican Rep. John Campbell will not seek re-election next year in the state's 45th District, a conservative Orange County area, immediately sparked plenty of speculation.
In a district that is considered "safe Republican," no less than a half-dozen GOP office-holders were mentioned as candidates to succeed Campbell.
But, Orange County sources say, the race will probably be sewn up by the candidate who told reporters Friday she was "all in" the race: state Sen. Mimi Walters, former mayor of Laguna Niguel, a former state assemblywoman, and the 2010 Republican nominee for state treasurer.
A solid conservative, Walters, 51, has been in the forefront of eminent domain issues. She is likely to have the blessings of veteran Rep. Ed Royce, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, and Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.
Many other prominent Republicans in the district signaled Friday that they wouldn't run. Among them were State Board of Equalization Member Michelle Steel, the country's highest-ranking Korean-American elected official; and state Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, also a candidate for the Board of Equalization.
Reportedly considering the race is Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer, a former state assemblyman who has a large campaign war chest but is disliked by most conservative activists.
For now, Walters is the early favorite for the Republican nomination and, in the 45th, that is tantamount to election.
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