Thursday, May 31, 2007

CA-41: Will Jerry Lewis Retire? Does the GOP Have to Worry About It?

Look what I found in Red County-San Bernardino, OC Blog's sister blog in the Inland Empire:

Will embattled 15-term Republican Congressman Jerry Lewis (CD 41) retire from the United States House of Representatives at the conclusion of the 110th Congress? Longtime Capitol Hill reporter Bob Novak is reporting in the Washington, D.C.-based publication Human Events that "both on Capitol Hill and in California, Republicans say that Rep. Jerry Lewis (R) is unlikely to seek re-election."

Really? So the man who probably best served "K Street's Queen of Earmarks" is now stepping down? The sleazy lobbyists might lose their best friend?

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

So what exactly did Robert Novak have to say about the 41st District? Well, here it is:

Both on Capitol Hill and in California, Republicans say that Rep. Jerry Lewis (R) is unlikely to seek re-election. This despite the fact that Lewis is not currently the target of an inquiry, and there have been no new developments in the ethical allegations against him. Lewis won last year with two-thirds of the vote against a token Democrat. Lewis has not tipped his hand at all, yet talk of potential Republican replacements already abounds. Conservative GOP San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus is said to be interested.

Republicans do not want to see either Lewis or Doolittle resign, because they do not want to spend money now on a special election. The money issue will also loom in the general election of 2008, but unless that election goes as badly for the GOP as last year's, Republicans can take heart in the fact that none of California's congressional districts is considered competitive. If there is anywhere you would prefer to have retirements, this is the state.

Wow, so Jerry Lewis is going against the will of fellow Republicans by deciding to retire? But they're not really worried about losing this seat? Maybe they should be.
Republicans may have a sizable registration edge in the district, but it's not insurmountable...
Especially if Democrats have a strong candidates, and perhaps they do...

Democratic possibilities for the 41st include downtown San Bernardino lawyer Tim Prince, who has pledged to run for the seat only in the event of a Lewis retirement. Prince's last stand for elective office was a failed attempt at the mayoralty of the city of San Bernardino.

And CQ seems to be taking him seriously as a threat to the GOP's possibly tenuous hold on this district, thanks to Lewis and all his scandal.

So would any of these Republicans have to put up a real fight to hold this seat? Perhaps. Look at how Brian Bilbray had to struggle to win in what was supposed to be a "safe Republican" seat. Look at how John Doolittle had to struggle in his "safe seat" last year. And so far, things aren't looking any better for Republicans today. Maybe they'll have another Congressional seat about in California, after all.

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