California: McClintock Chases Oller From Republican Race

Posted March 4, 2008 at 6:29pm

Despite being endorsed by the Club for Growth and scores of state Republican officials in his bid for the 4th district GOP nomination, former state Sen. Rico Oller on Tuesday was chased out of the race by state Sen. Tom McClintock.

McClintock made his candidacy official Tuesday morning during a news conference in Auburn.

Oller argued in an e-mail to his supporters that if he stayed in the race to replace retiring Rep. John Doolittle (R), he and McClintock would split the conservative vote and allow moderate former Rep. Doug Ose to win the June 3 GOP primary.

“As you might imagine, it is a bitter pill indeed for me to swallow, but the price of freedom and the call to duty are greater than any one man,” Oller wrote.

The 4th district is solid Republican territory, and the winner of the GOP primary between Ose — who was endorsed Tuesday by former Gov. Pete Wilson (R) — and McClintock should be well-positioned to defeat the Democratic nominee in November.

Neither Ose nor McClintock are from the district, with Ose formerly serving in the adjacent 3rd district now held by Rep. Dan Lungren (R), and McClintock currently representing a legislative district situated in Southern California, near Rep. Elton Gallegly’s (R) 24th district.

Military veteran and retired police administrator Charlie Brown (D), who came within a few points of upsetting Doolittle in 2006, pounced on his Republican competitors’ status as geographical outsiders.

“We need a new direction in the 4th district, not another opportunistic career politician who needs driving directions just to find our district,” Brown said in a statement. “I’ll put my 35 years of battle tested leadership up against a group of carpet-bagging career politicians any day.”

Meanwhile, the Auburn Journal reported late last week that attorney John Wolfgram was preparing to challenge Brown in the Democratic primary.
— David M. Drucker