California: Panetta Fundraising for Farr as Son Eyes His Seaside Seat

Farr will seek re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Farr will seek re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted April 8, 2013 at 2:27pm

Former Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta will headline a June fundraiser for Democratic Rep. Sam Farr in the coastal California district that the former congressman’s son is now eyeing.

The June 8 Pacific Grove event will commemorate the 20th anniversary of Farr’s special-election victory to replace Panetta, who had resigned from the House to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Meanwhile, James Panetta, a Monterey County deputy district attorney, said recently he is considering running for his father’s former seat when Farr, 71, retires. Farr filed for re-election five months ago and is planning to serve at least one more term.

(See also in Roll Call: Many Democrats Size Up Increasingly Tempting House Seats in California)

“The Central Coast is blessed with lots of qualified, engaged, civic minded individuals who one day could make great members of Congress, including Jimmy Panetta,” Farr spokesman Adam Russell said in a statement. “The Congressman has long enjoyed his close friendship with the Panetta family and is proud to see that Jimmy is interested in following in his father’s footsteps. Meanwhile, Congressman Farr is focused on continuing to serve his community in Congress and is preparing to run for his next term in 2014.”

The younger Panetta, 43, gave an extensive interview to the Carmel Pine Cone newspaper last month about his political ambitions. With the top-two primary putting even incumbents in safe districts on edge, Panetta cautioned he would not run for the seat until Farr retired.

The elder Panetta was also quoted in the story, telling the newspaper that James “has always been interested in public service.”

Farr’s retirement from the safe Democratic 20th District — with its picturesque coastline, including the cities of Santa Cruz, Carmel and Monterey — would likely invite a crowded field to replace him.