Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is endorsing former California lawmaker Tony Strickland in his bid to succeed retiring Rep. Buck McKeon, saying his experience is what is needed in Congress.
In a press release issued by the campaign Wednesday, Romney praised Strickland
as being "an experienced legislator, a devoted husband and father, and a longtime community leader" who "led the fight against the Democrats'
excessive budgets in Sacramento and worked to bring California's crippling deficit under control. He will do the same in Congress."
his retirement in January, saying partisan gridlock and term limits were behind his decision to not seek re-election to a 12th term to the House, where he chairs one of the Hill's most powerful committees.
"What you have is a real problem in trying to get things together, in trying to get things to happen," the House Armed Services Committee chairman said when announcing his retirement, and he complained that both Republicans and Democrats alike have shifted toward extremes in the past few years.
McKeon, a California Republican, spoke in a rebuke of some Republicans' calls for cuts in federal spending at the expense of the military, and vowed he would keep fighting against reductions in Pentagon spending.
But aside from the partisan gridlock, McKeon said term limits are "the biggest motivator" in his decision to not seek re-election. He would not have been able to stay on as Armed Services chairman, and said he doesn't "want to be around here second-guessing a chairman."
Romney said Strickland would be a good replacement for McKeon because he "will fight to limit government spending and support economic policies designed to create jobs. He knows we cannot pass this unsustainable debt on to future generations, and Tony will face this problem head-on so we can leave a stable, debt-free country for our children and grandchildren."
Strickland is facing challenges in the race from Republican state Sen. Steve Knight and podiatrist Lee Rogers, a Democrat, in the June 3 primary.
The two who receive the highest amounts of votes, regardless of party, will advance to the general election, reports Roll Call
Romney is not the only high-powered Republican to endorse Strickland. He has McKeon's endorsement as well.
"I've had a good relationship with the chairman, and his support is going to be very big in my district," Strickland told Roll Call in February. "The one person who knows what it takes in terms of leadership in Congress, and that also represents this district and this community, looks at all the candidates and says I'm the candidate to replace him — and I take that as a very humbling feeling."
On Wednesday, Strickland said he is grateful for Romney's endorsement as well.
"It's vital that we get our economy back on track and get our neighbors back to work," Strickland said. "The only way to do that is to lower taxes, reduce red tape and stop the government from being a burden to small-business owners.
"The president and Nancy Pelosi keep trying to lead us down the wrong path by making the government more intrusive and proposing even more new taxes, that is why our economy is suffering so much."
Strickland is a Simi Valley native and has served as a state assemblyman and state senator for the region.
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