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California: Miller Faces Primary Against Businessman

An Inland Empire businessman will announce Friday that he plans to challenge Rep. Gary Miller in next year’s Republican primary, according to GOP sources in Washington, D.C., and the Golden State.

Lee McGroarty, an executive with Retire America, an investment company, has been making the rounds at local political events in recent weeks putting out the word that he intends to run. McGroarty, who may have the ability to self-fund to a certain degree, did not respond to a phone message left at his office Wednesday. But he is certain to tar Miller as a Washington insider who has fallen out of touch with his constituents.

Democrats made some noises about spending resources against the six-term incumbent in the previous cycle even though his district still leans toward the GOP. But despite some unflattering revelations over the years about Miller’s land deals, he still won by 20 points.

Given the nature of the 42nd district, a tough challenge in the Republican primary is probably more problematic for the Congressman than a general election. Michael Williamson, a police officer and attorney, is seeking the Democratic nomination in 2010.

Sanchez Challengers Making the D.C. Rounds

The two Republicans vying to take on Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D) in November 2010 were in Washington, D.C., this week.

State Assemblyman Van Tran, the choice of national GOP leaders, was in town for a variety of meetings with elected officials, party strategists and interest groups.

Meanwhile, Quang Pham, an author and motivational speaker, held a fundraiser in D.C. on Monday, part of a three-day East Coast swing to raise money. Pham did not formally enter the race until July 31, so he has yet to file a campaign finance report. But he said in a news release this week that he has already raised more than $100,000.

Tran reported raising $254,000 as of June 30 and had $251,000 in the bank.

Tran, who is finishing his third and final term in the Assembly, clearly sees Pham as more of an irritant than a threat and expressed doubts in an interview Wednesday that his opponent would even be in the race by next June’s primary.

“That’s not my concern — my concern right now is the general election victory,— Tran said.

Republicans believe that Sanchez is vulnerable in her Orange County district, even though she won 70 percent of the vote last year and President Barack Obama carried the district with 60 percent. Since ousting then-Rep. Bob Dornan (R) — who Tran once worked for — by just 984 votes in 1996, Sanchez has never won less than 56 percent of the vote.

As of June 30, Sanchez had $714,000 in her campaign account.

Clinton to Headline Oct. Fundraiser for Sherman

The thing that Rep. Brad Sherman (D) probably has to fear most politically is redistricting, but the fact that the drawing of new maps is still a couple of years off isn’t preventing him for bringing in the big dog for a fundraiser.

Former President Bill Clinton will headline a reception for Sherman on Oct. 4 at the Hidden Hills home of Syd Leibovitch, owner of one of California’s biggest real estate firms.

Sherman, who is in his seventh term, represents a San Fernando Valley district that is about 41 percent Hispanic. Nearby districts are also represented by white, Jewish Democrats, even though the Hispanic population in the area is growing rapidly.

Sherman was sitting on almost $2.1 million in his campaign account as of June 30.

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Photos of the week ending June 14, 2024