Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Conservatives Encourage Roach to Run

Right now it is hard to tell how the saga of Republican congressional candidate, Eric Roach, will play out. According to the North County Times, Roach is still considering his options regarding a run at the Republican primary against Brian Bilbray.

Conservative Roach has an aggressive faction of the Republican Party that is actively encouraging him to take on the much more moderate Bilbray. Representative of that conservative base is Howard Kaloogian, the man who came in third among the Republicans in the 50th CD special election.
On Monday, second place GOP candidate Roach could not be reached for comment, but a campaign spokesman said the millionaire businessman has not yet made up his mind whether to run in the primary. And third-place finisher and former state Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian said in a phone interview that if Roach decides to run in the primary, he would support him and not Bilbray.
Either Roach or Kaloogian would have achieved enough votes to move forward to the run-off election had the other not been in the race. By splitting the conservative vote, Roach and Kaloogian insured Bilbray’s victory and, in the strongly Republican 50th, potentially insured that Bilbray would have a secure seat in congress for as long as he wants.

Now San Diego area conservatives find themselves between the devil and the deep blue sea. If Roach decides to concede the primary to Bilbray, conservatives will have given a solid Republican seat to a moderate who has in the past actually supported environmental legislation, voted for gun control and doesn’t demonize gays on principle.
Meanwhile, local and state Republican Party officials said Monday they would not be endorsing any Republican candidate for the primary election. However, both officials expressed concerns that if any Republican candidate decides to compete against Bilbray for the GOP nomination, any negative campaigning between the two in the coming weeks could hurt the party.

If Roach decides to go after Bilbray and wins the primary, while Bilbray is winning the run-off, all bets are off. At that point, the incumbent Republican congressman would either be forced from office or would have to run a write-in campaign against Democrat Francine Busby and Republican primary winner, Roach. The November election result could end up with Busby winning a full term and sitting in convicted Republican felon Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s old seat in congress.