California: Third District|
Rep. Doug Ose (R)
Last Updated July 8, 2003
Until recently, Sacramento was chiefly the metropolis of a fertile valley that produced a marvelous variety of crops: rice, plums, almonds, olives, asparagus, pears, hops, beans, celery, onions, potatoes, plus caviar-yielding sturgeon in pools of filtered water. The farmlands remain, and the capital city flourishes as a center of government; greater Sacramento is one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the country. Almost all the growth has been away from the flood plain of the Sacramento River, in the higher land east of the city that eventually turns into hills rising toward the Sierra Nevadas. Here is the Mother Lode country in Amador and Calaveras Counties, which filled up with people in the Gold Rush days, when Mark Twain was inspired to write his story about the famous jumping frog of Calaveras County. Only in recent decades has Calaveras County had more than the 16,000 people who lived there in Twain's time, but some things have not changed. When an animal-rights group called for cancellation of the annual Jumping Frog Jubilee, a local official said that the frogs are not tortured and that the jubilee will continue.
The 3d Congressional District includes much of suburban Sacramento, some territory to the west and some of the Mother Lode country in Amador and Calaveras Counties to the east, where it reaches over the Sierras to Alpine County, the smallest county in California (1,208 people in 2000) and the Nevada line. Its ungainly shape contains only a little territory--northern Sacramento suburbs that have 32% of the district's population--that was in the old district before 2001 redistricting. But more than 80% of the people in the district live in Sacramento County, in suburbs like Carmichael, Citrus Heights and Arden-Arcade (which is shared with the 5th) and the old town of Folsom. Historically Sacramento was Democratic, like the Central Valley. But in the 1980s and 1990s, Sacramento County, with its rapid private-sector growth, became more Republican, like the Central Valley; it voted in 2002 to evict Gray Davis from the governorship and install Republican Bill Simon. The 3d District voted 55% for George W. Bush in 2000 and seems to be a safe Republican seat.
The congressman from the 3d District is Doug Ose, a Republican elected in 1998 to a seat that had elected only Democrats since it was created in 1962. Ose grew up in Sacramento and went into the family real estate development business after graduating from Berkeley in 1977. In 1985, he struck out on his own, mainly to build mini-storage units. This is a booming business in a fast-growing metropolitan area filling up with subdivision houses on narrow lots and garden apartments with little room to store a lifetime's paraphernalia; Ose accumulated enough of a fortune to self-finance a House campaign. The occasion came when Vic Fazio, congressman and chairman of the Democratic Caucus, announced he would not seek re-election after 20 years in the House. The 1992 redistricting had made this a Republican-leaning district, and Fazio had to work hard to hold it. His retirement made Republicans the clear favorite for the district. Their two leading candidates were Ose, who had not run for office before, and Assemblywoman Barbara Alby, a strong conservative. Spending freely, Ose ran a stream of attacks against Alby; one ad asserted that Alby had missed two of every 10 legislative votes in 1997 (some of them due to a "junket to Hawaii," a charge that was accompanied in the ad by dancing hula dolls). The attacks worked. In the nine-candidate all-party June primary, Ose finished first, with 30%, to Alby's 19%. Sandie Dunn, a water and land-use attorney endorsed by Fazio, won the Democratic nomination with 23%. In the general, both candidates showed strengths. Dunn campaigned as a moderate, with special expertise in water law and experience in the Sacramento Valley on this issue. Ose campaigned for tax cuts and giving local governments control over environmental regulation. Ose spent $1.43 million of his own money. In a low-turnout year, he won 52%-45%.
In Washington, Ose has been a moderate on cultural issues and more conservative on economic and foreign issues. The 4th District's John Doolittle helped to scuttle Ose's plan for improvement of Sacramento River levees in the Natomas area. In 2001, he became chairman of the Energy Policy, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee of Government Reform, from which he oversaw California's electricity crisis plus water problems that Republicans contend the Clinton administration exacerbated. In February 2002 he chaired a hearing on the gifts that Hillary Rodham Clinton accepted at the White House before she was sworn in as Senator in January 2001 and was covered by its gift rules. He said that the current system for presidential gifts "is broken and needs to be fixed." He demanded more specifics from the Bush administration on the costs and benefits of its regulatory policies. Ose took the lead in a bipartisan effort to curtail production of methamphetamine.
Redistricting provided Ose with a safe though mostly unfamiliar district, and he was reelected 62%-34%. In 1998 he signed a pledge to serve only three terms in the House. By summer 2002, he was traveling around the state attending political forums and exploring a race against Senator Barbara Boxer in 2004. But in May 2003, Ose announced he would not run for the Senate and that he would honor his term limits pledge and not seek reelection. Possible Republican candidates for Ose's open House seat include state Senator Rico Oller and former Congressman and Attorney General Dan Lungren.
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|Group Ratings (More Info)|
|National Journal Ratings
For National Journal's complete 2002 Vote Ratings, as well as previous ratings dating back to 1995, please click here.|
Key Votes Of The 107th Congress
|1. Approve Bush Tax Cuts
|2. Limit Patients' Bill of Rights
|3. Campaign Finance Reform
|4. Ban ANWR Development
|5. Faith-Based Charities
|6. Bar Gays in the Boy Scouts
| 7. Ban Partial-Birth Abortion
| 8. Arm Commercial Pilots
| 9. Trade Promotion Authority
|10. Bar Funds for Intl. Court
|11. Authorize Force in Iraq
|12. Deny Home. Sec. Dept. Union
||Doug Ose (R)
|Howard Beeman (D)
||Doug Ose (R)
||Doug Ose (R)
|Bob Kent (D)
Prior winning percentages:
For 1992 and 1996 presidential results in the Third District, please see the Almanac 2000 online. Please note that these older returns reflect district lines as they existed prior to 2002 redistricting.
- Cook Partisan Voting Index: R + 7
- District Size: 3,422 square miles
- Population in 2000: 639,088; 86.4% urban; 13.6% rural
- Median Household Income: $51,313; 8.5% are below the poverty line
- Occupation: 18.4% blue collar; 67.8% white collar; 13.8% gray collar; 15.7% military veterans
- Race/Ethnic Origin:
0.8% Amer. Indian,
3.5% Two+ races,
10.7% Hispanic origin
- Click here for statewide demographic data.
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