Speculation is mounting in the Golden State’s GOP-leaning 25th Congressional District that, at age 74, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon will announce his retirement after 11 terms in the House.
McKeon, who will be “termed out” in 2014 as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told the much-read Flash Report online newsletter that he “has not yet made a decision about whether he will seek re-election.”
But talk is already rampant about who will run in a district in which the Republican primary will be tantamount to election.
Among those mentioned are all strong conservatives, including state Sen. Steve Knight, Board of Equalization member George Runner, and Ventura County Board of Supervisors Chairman Peter Foy.
Baca Eyeing Comeback: District Unknown
Not long after he was defeated by fellow Democrat Gloria Negrete McLeod last year, former Rep. Joe Baca signaled he would seek a rematch in 2014 in the Southern California-based 35th district.
But a close political ally of Baca’s, Grand Terrace Councilwoman Sylvia Robles, said on Twitter that Baca had changed districts and would instead run against Republican Gary Miller in the neighboring 31st district.
“When I’m ready to tell you, I’ll tell you,” Baca told reporters about his plans. “Let’s just say that I'll get back to you next week on that story.”
Under the Golden State’s French-style elections, all candidates compete on the same ballot in the primary and the top two vote-getters regardless of party meet in a November run-off.
In 2012, Democrats Negrete McLeod and Baca competed in the 35th district, while Miller and fellow Republican state Sen. Bob Dutton were the run-off contenders in the 31st.
Ellmers Praying about N.C. Senate Bid
After she unseated Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole in a major upset, North Carolina’s Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan is considered one of the most vulnerable senators up for election next year.
A recent PPP poll showed that among Tarheel State voters, centrist Democrat Hagan had an approval rating of only 34 percent, with 36 percent disapproving of her performance.
But the problem for state Republicans is that five months after a sweep in which they won the governorship, lieutenant governorship, and control of both houses of the legislature, they have no heavyweight Senate contender.
Now pressure is on from both establishment and grass roots Republicans for two-term Rep. Renee Ellmers to take on Hagan.
When I caught up with Ellmers and freshman GOP Rep. Richard Hudson of North Carolina at the Susan B. Anthony List’s annual banquet last week, Hudson told me that if Ellmers runs for the Senate,“I will write her the first campaign check.”
When I asked Ellmers whether she would run, she replied: “I’m praying and waiting.”
Illinois GOP May Have Shot for House Seat
After Democratic-controlled redistricting in Illinois resulted in devastating results for Republicans — namely, the defeat of four of their U.S. House members in 2012 — the Prairie State GOP probably has one shot at defeating a Democratic congressman in 2014.
State Rep. Darlene Senger of Naperville was in Washington, D.C., last week amid rumors she would take on Democratic Rep. Bill Foster in suburban Chicago’s 11th district.
Senger, known for her strong pro-life stand and work on agriculture, met with officials of the National Republican Congressional Committee and the House GOP delegation from Illinois, reportedly to discuss a challenge to Foster, who unseated veteran GOP Rep. Judy Biggert last year.
John Gizzi is the former political editor for Human Events, working for the conservative weekly from 1979 to 2013. Gizzi is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence, was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002, and has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV talk shows.
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