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California Democrat Endorses Republican Opponent

Rogers backed one of his former Republican opponents. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Rogers backed one of his former Republican opponents. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With two Republicans advancing to the general in California’s 25th District open-seat race, the losing Democrat conceded the race on Wednesday and backed one of his two former GOP opponents.  

Podiatric surgeon Lee Rogers, the top Democrat in the race, finished third behind two Republicans, former state Sen. Tony Strickland and state Sen. Steve Knight. In a Wednesday morning statement, Rogers recommended Democrats in the district back Knight — a rare endorsement from a member of an opposing party.  

Rogers called Knight “an honest man with integrity” before going on to take jabs at Strickland.  

“To the contrary, Tony Strickland is a politician in search of a district,” Rogers continued. “Recommending a Republican for Congress may not sit well with some in my party, but I didn’t create the rules and I care too much about our district to let it fall to a dishonest carpetbagger who is interested only in himself, like Tony Strickland.”  

California’s 25th District has a slight Republican lean. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried it by a slim 2-point margin in 2012, though it would likely lean more Republican in a midterm year. It’s open this cycle because of GOP Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon’s retirement.  

Now, Democrats in the district interested in voting will have no choice but to support a Republican.  

“Both Tony Strickland and Steve Knight are conservatives and wouldn’t represent the views of district Democrats at all in Washington,” Rogers said. “But Democrats will have to choose between two Republicans, or leave the office blank. My recommendation for Democrats is to cast your vote for Steve Knight in November.”  

The race is now rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.