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
Add to Briefcase
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 »
FBI TURNED DOWN REQUEST
Report: Trump Asked FBI to Deny Russia Stories
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Many Signatures Has the Petition for Trump’s Tax Returns Received?
3 days ago
THE ANSWER

More than 1 million, setting a record. More than 100,000 signatures triggers an official White House response.

Source:
TIED TO RUSSIA INVESTIGATION
Sen. Collins Open to Subpoena of Trump’s Tax Returns
3 days ago
THE LATEST

Sen. Susan Collins, who sits on the Intelligence Committee, "said on Wednesday she's open to using a subpoena to investigate President Donald Trump's tax returns for potential connections to Russia." She said the committee is also open to subpoenaing Trump himself. "This is a counter-intelligence operation in many ways," she said of Russia's interference. "That's what our committee specializes in. We are used to probing in depth in this area."

Source:
NPR ALSO LAUNCHES ETHICS WATCH
Obama Staffers Launch Group to Monitor Trump Ethics
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

"Top lawyers who helped the Obama White House craft and hold to rules of conduct believe President Donald Trump and his staff will break ethics norms meant to guard against politicization of the government — and they’ve formed a new group to prepare, and fight. United to Protect Democracy, which draws its name from a line in President Barack Obama’s farewell address that urged his supporters to pick up where he was leaving off, has already raised a $1.5 million operating budget, hired five staffers and has plans to double that in the coming months." Meanwhile, NPR has launched a "Trump Ethics Monitor" to track the resolution of ten ethics-related promises that the president has made.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login