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California Source: Doolittle to Announce Retirement Today; Ose Could Run for Seat

Embattled Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) is set to announce today that he will not seek a 10th term in November, a Golden State Republican insider said this morning. The news should come as a relief to national Republican leaders, who have worried about losing Doolittle’s seat despite its strong Republican lean. Former Rep. Doug Ose (R-Calif.), who retired from the 3rd district in 2004, is contemplating a comeback, with several sources saying he is leaning toward running this year to replace Doolittle in the 4th. Doolittle has called a news conference for 10:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time at a community center in Roseville, Calif. Speculation has been rampant that Doolittle would retire from his 4th district seat ever since his Virginia home was raided by the FBI last spring in connection with an investigation into his and his wife Julie’s ties to disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The Congressman has represented the suburbs and foothills just east of Sacramento for 18 years. The 4th district is solid Republican territory. But Doolittle narrowly escaped a challenge from police administrator Charlie Brown (D) in November 2006. Brown, who is running again this cycle, has raised more money than Doolittle thus far, and he has been favored in some polls to beat the Republican if he faces him again in November. Republicans outside of Doolittle’s core of supporters believe the GOP will hold this seat as long as the Congressman is not their 2008 nominee. — David M. Drucker

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