California Rep. Gary Miller is switching districts, the latest fallout from a string of Golden State Republican retirements.
Miller, a seven-term Republican from Diamond Bar, will run in the Democratic-leaning 31st district in San Bernardino, avoiding a race with fellow Rep. Ed Royce (R) in the Orange County-based 39th district, which is a safe Republican seat.
California’s “Flash Report” blog first reported the news about an hour after Rep. Jerry Lewis (R) announced his retirement from the 31st.
“California is losing a tremendous amount of influence in Washington with the recent retirements of Jerry, Wally Herger, and Elton Gallegly,” Miller said in a statement. “There are serious challenges ahead if we are going to rein in out-of-control spending, fight President Obama’s efforts to increase taxes, and fix our economy.”
Shortly after the news of Miller’s move broke, San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos said in an email that he intends to complete his term and not run for the seat. Ramos had been considered a top Republican candidate for the seat, along with state Sen. Bob Dutton.
Also immediately after Miller made his move, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) announced the NRCC is supporting Miller.
“Gary Miller has the experience, leadership and will to win for Republicans in 2012, and I applaud Gary’s decision to fight for smaller government and greater opportunity for more Californians by running in California’s 31st District,” Sessions said in a statement. “The NRCC remains committed to re-electing House Republican Members, and I look forward to supporting Gary Miller as he takes on this new opportunity for Republican victory in 2012.”
Royce was seen as the stronger candidate in the party’s only Member-vs.-Member race in the state. The primary between the two well-funded incumbents was expected to be costly.
Miller is the second candidate to enter the 31st district field today, following Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, the top Democrat in the race.
Miller’s entrance also likely erases any possibility that Rules Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) will run in the 31st. Dreier was left with no good options to run for re-election after his current district was carved up in the state’s new independent redistricting process.
Lewis’ retirement announcement today was the third for California Republicans in the last five days, following Herger and Gallegly.