From the OC Politics Blog
We can’t find anyone who wasn’t surprised by Congressman John Campbell‘s retirement announcement this afternoon. Here’s the statement sent via email by the OC GOP earlier:
Representative John Campbell (CA-45) to Retire from Congress in 2014
Washington – This evening, on Hugh Hewitt’s nationally syndicated radio show, U.S. Representative John Campbell announced his intention to retire from public service next year at the end of the 113th Congress.
Representative Campbell, first elected to the U.S. Congress in 2005 through a special election held to replace former Representative Christopher Cox, will have served five terms when he retires in 2014. Campbell, the Chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade, currently represents California’s 45th district.
Upon making his announcement, Representative Campbell authorized the following statement to be released immediately:
I have decided that I will not seek re-election to represent California’s 45th Congressional district in 2014. At the end of this term, I will have spent 14 years serving in full-time, elected politics. I am not nor did I ever intend to be a career politician. I am ready to begin a new chapter in my life.
It has been an honor and a privilege to represent the district where my wife and I have raised our children. I look forward to continuing that representation for the balance of the 113th Congress. I have been blessed to have the unwavering support of my family, friends, and the residents of Orange County throughout these years, and for that I will remain forever grateful.
My passion for the conservative issues for which I have fought so vocally over that span has not waned. But in the future, I will continue the fight for more freedom and a less authoritarian government as a private citizen rather than elected official.
Drive fast and live free.
I remain respectfully,
Member of Congress
Martin Wisckol at the Register wrote up the story right away — it’s outside their paywall here.
There’s no time like the present to begin speculating on who will run for Campbell’s seat. Per the FlashReport’s Jon Fleischman, termed out State Senator Mimi Walters announced her interest immediately — and just as quickly we were reminded via Allan Bartlett on Facebook that she’d recently broken Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge. AD72 Candidate Troy Edgar refused the Pledge last year and was soundly thrashed by 11 points by political newcomer Travis Allen.
Wisckol had an immediate local update on the usual suspects who might be interested in the seat: “County Supervisors John Moorlach and Pat Bates, former state Sen. Dick Ackerman, Irvine Mayor Steven Choi, Dana Point Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, Board of Equalization member Michelle Steel, and former Anaheim Councilman Harry Sidhu.” Hopefully we won’t see that lightweight Chris Cox thinking he’s forgiven and running again for this Seat that he left during the Bush Administration to attempt running the SEC.
Wisckol also said that Irvine Councilman Jeff Lalloway and State Assemblyman Allan Mansoor “would not be running”. Two other names that weren’t mentioned, or just forgotten in the frenzy, were Don Wagner and Van Tran.
We wouldn’t be very surprised if Shawn and Michelle Steel were having a serious conversation with OC GOP Chair Scott Baugh this evening either. They’ve already relocated to Costa Mesa for her run at John Moorlach’s Supervisorial seat. Shawn Steel is the Republican National Committeeman from California and past Chairman of the State Republican Party. Past CRP Chairman Ron Nehring might have some ideas as well — he lives in the San Diego area.
Michelle Steel presents herself extremely well, and as a Korean would be representative of the County’s huge Asian community. Jumping to the Congressional race would be easy for this “power couple”, and leave Allan Mansoor an easy path to Moorlach’s office that he’s interested in — then leaving his Assembly seat for Emanuel Patrascu (Travis Allen’s campaign manager and District Director) and the feckless County Trash Department PR guy Matt Harper to fight over.
With no incumbent in the 2014 race for the 45th, it’s also valuable (or scary) to speculate on the Democrats who might gin up campaigns and fundraising: Irvine Councilmembers Larry Agran and Beth Krom (who lost to Campbell in 2010) certainly make the list, as would Sukhee Kang who lost to Campbell in 2012. Per Wisckol, the District “is 45 percent Republican and 28 percent Democrat”, but there’s a lot of Democrat money in Irvine as Agran’s proven and he’s the Sleaze when it comes to extracting money from his “progressive” base via his semi-legal voter guide and arm twisting — and there are plenty of Great Park vendors who owe him. Perennial Democrat candidate Steve Young would make the list as well.
With the State GOP on life support and the local infighting and corruption under Baugh’s leadership, the Democrats would see this Seat as a bigger prize than they scored when Loretta Sanchez won, and then held for decades, Bob Dorner’s seat in central Orange County. We were far more Republican then than were are today.