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Rove Aide Enters Race Against Scott Peters

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Capitol Hill vet and former George W. Bush aide Denise Gitsham on Friday officially put incumbent Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., on notice that she wants his job.  

“I’m running because I believe public servants should be just that, servants, not self-serving,” the first-time candidate told supporters at a campaign kickoff covered by KBPS .  

Gitsham is the second Republican to publicly vie for the two-term lawmaker’s seat; openly gay, decorated war veteran Jacquie Atkinson launched her bid for Congress earlier this year.  

In the past two cycles Peters has edged out former opponents by less than 3 percentage points, squeaking past fellow former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio in 2014 after just barely toppling then-sitting Rep. Brian P. Bilbray, R-Calif., in 2012.  

Current FEC filings show Atkinson is at a significant disadvantage in the fundraising arena; she has roughly $49,000 on hand versus Peters’ more than $1 million war chest. And GOP donors are expected to be harder to come by after the San Diego Chamber of Commerce endorsed Peters.  

Peters was one of just a handful of House Democrats to be endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2014.  

As things stand now, the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call views the contest as Safe Democrat .  

A first-generation U.S. citizen — her parents emigrated from China and Canada — Gitsham has very much lived the American Dream. Per her LinkedIn bio, she spent two years handling Hispanic outreach for the Bush-Cheney campaign. She climbed through the administration’s ranks for a while, devoting her time to liaising for various initiatives and agencies, including the Department of Justice. She also earned a degree from Georgetown University Law Center, got shown the door just one episode into Season 12 of reality dating competition “The Bachelor” (she tried touting her ties to GOP strategist Karl Rove), worked on next-generation energy issues and co-founded two public relations firms along the way.  

On her campaign site Gitsham vows to stoke San Diego’s innovation economy, restore budget discipline in Washington, and foster free trade around the world.  


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