GOP Likely to Cede Retiring Miller’s House Seat

But Democrats are divided on his successor.

Handout photo of Rep. Gary Miller R-CA
National Journal
Steven Shepard
See more stories about...
Steven Shepard
Feb. 12, 2014, 11:37 a.m.

Rep. Gary Miller, R-Cal­if., was the in­cum­bent most vul­ner­able to los­ing reelec­tion when he an­nounced his re­tire­ment on Wed­nes­day. But while Demo­crats are likely to pick up his South­ern Cali­for­nia seat — where voters pre­ferred Pres­id­ent Obama to Mitt Rom­ney by a 16-point mar­gin in 2012 — there’s little agree­ment among Demo­crats on whom the new mem­ber of Con­gress should be.

Miller won reelec­tion last cycle, des­pite that strong Obama per­form­ance, be­cause of a strange con­flu­ence of decen­ni­al re­dis­trict­ing and Cali­for­nia’s top-two primary sys­tem. The dis­trict was al­most en­tirely new to Miller when he de­cided to run there in 2012 and avoid a mem­ber-versus-mem­ber race with GOP Rep. Ed Royce. Miller was joined in the race by former GOP state Sen. Bob Dut­ton and a num­ber of Demo­crats, in­clud­ing Red­lands May­or Pete Aguilar, the favored can­did­ate of D.C. Demo­crats. But des­pite the dis­trict’s Demo­crat­ic lean, Miller and Dut­ton fin­ished first and second, and ad­vanced to the gen­er­al elec­tion. Aguilar fin­ished third, about 1,500 votes shy of second place and 2,500 short of Miller’s tally.

Demo­crats quickly iden­ti­fied Miller as their top 2014 tar­get — no Re­pub­lic­an rep­res­ents a dis­trict that went stonger for Obama — and Aguilar, backed by the Demo­crat­ic Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee, is run­ning again. But Aguilar isn’t alone in seek­ing the seat. EMILY’s List, which sup­ports pro-choice Demo­crat­ic wo­men, is be­hind law­yer Eloise Gomez Reyes. The group last week eagerly touted that Gomez Reyes raised twice as much cam­paign cash as Aguilar in the pre­vi­ous fun­drais­ing quarter, and it quickly sought to cast her as the lead­ing Demo­crat in the June primary.

“The path for front-run­ner Eloise Gomez Reyes just got clear­er,” said EMILY’s List spokes­wo­man Marcy Stech. “The mo­mentum around her grass­roots cam­paign grows stronger every day as voters hear about her plan to fight for jobs, edu­ca­tion, and a fair shot for all.”

Mean­while, former Rep. Joe Baca, D-Cal­if., who, after re­dis­trict­ing, was de­feated for reelec­tion in a bor­der­ing dis­trict, has de­clared for the race. Miller’s dis­trict con­tains about two-fifths of Baca’s old one be­fore the lines were re­drawn. Baca raised very little money in the last fun­drais­ing quarter, but in a top-two, open-seat primary, his name ID could be a factor. In an in­ter­est­ing twist, Baca may have helped de­liv­er some votes to Miller in 2012 when he en­dorsed the Re­pub­lic­an in the all-GOP gen­er­al elec­tion.

Re­pub­lic­ans have a little more than three weeks to find a can­did­ate of their own. Fil­ing closes on March 7. But if a Re­pub­lic­an and a Demo­crat ad­vance to the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion, the Demo­crat will be­gin the race as the fa­vor­ite to move the seat in­to their party’s column.

Na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­an Con­gres­sion­al Com­mit­tee Chair­man Greg Walden is­sued a state­ment fol­low­ing the news of Miller’s re­tire­ment, thank­ing Miller and his fam­ily for their ser­vice. But un­like when fel­low Re­pub­lic­ans Jim Ger­lach and Buck McK­eon an­nounced their re­tire­ments earli­er this year, Walden didn’t ex­press con­fid­ence that Re­pub­lic­ans would hold Miller’s seat.

What We're Following See More »
SUPPORTERS’ RALLY
Sanders Supporters Boo When He Mentions Clinton-Kaine
23 minutes ago
THE LATEST
ALL EYES ON RUSSIANS
FBI Investigating DNC Hack
37 minutes ago
THE LATEST

The FBI this morning issued a statement saying it is "investigating a cyber intrusion involving the DNC," adding that "a compromise of this nature is something we take very seriously." Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton's campaign is suggesting that the hack "was committed by Russia to benefit Donald Trump."

Source:
NEED 300 DELEGATE SIGNATURES
Sanders Delegates Threaten to Challenge Kaine Pick
53 minutes ago
THE LATEST

A group of delegates loyal to Bernie Sanders is actively exploring how to challenge Tim Kaine's nomination for the vice presidency. A lead of the group "said he hoped the Democratic National Committee releases information within hours on how to submit a challenger to Kaine, which he said would require the signatures of 300 delegates. He said they have until Wednesday morning to file a challenge to Kaine and stressed that while his group would take any requests from the Sanders campaign under consideration, the delegate group is an independent organization."

Source:
JOHNSON PULLING 26%
A Three-Way Race in Utah?
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Here are some more numbers out of Utah that should frighten Donald Trump—and give hope to Gary Johnson. "An internal poll conducted for Rep. Mia Love two weeks ago found Trump at 29 percent, Clinton at 27 percent" and Libertarian candidate Johnson at 26 percent. "That was, however, before Trump picked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence." Utah party chairman James Evans said that move ought to clinch the state for Trump. "Utahns are going to come through because the level of distaste for Hillary is so deep," he said.

Source:
COUNTERPROGRAMMING
Trump Making Swing State Push This Week
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Trump will try to steal some of Hillary Clinton's thunder during the Democratic National Convention here this week with a slate of swing-state appearances that will test the appeal of his new running mate. ... Pence will join the GOP presidential nominee at stops in Virginia and North Carolina on Monday, Florida on Tuesday and Pennsylvania on Wednesday, according to a campaign schedule. Other GOP allies will hover around Philadelphia for counterprogramming during the Democratic gathering."

Source:
×