Friday, April 14, 2006

Republican Conservatives Pondering

Will they or won't they? Will one emerge as a challenger? Will he go unchallenged?

Conservative Republicans Howard Kaloogian and Eric Roach are leaving the door open to compete against Brian Bilbray, their party's candidate for the 50th District congressional seat.

While Bilbray is locked in a race against Democrat Francine Busby to determine who will represent the 50th through the remainder of convicted Republican felon Randy "Duke" Cunningham's term won in 2004, Bilbray may also have to watch his back and play defense against one or more Republican challengers in the parallel primary election that will occur at the same time in June.

The San Diego Union Tribune continues to follow the key potential Republican challengers.
Some conservative activists are calling for an alternative to Bilbray in the primary. Most are looking to Roach, who has the personal wealth to run a credible campaign, bucking the party. He spent at least $1.8 million of his own money in the recent campaign.

Former state Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian, a conservative favorite but distant third-place finisher among the GOP candidates Tuesday, said he hasn't considered campaigning for the June primary, but “I will walk through the door God opens for me in the future.” Businessman Alan Uke, who finished fifth among Republicans, said he doubts he'll mount a campaign but hasn't decided for sure.


California Republican Assembly president Mike Spence said his independent group would actively campaign against Bilbray in the primary if there is “a credible conservative candidate” in the race. He said he has spoken with people from Roach's campaign.


In his influential conservative blog, former state Republican executive director Jon Fleischman suggested that it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if Busby won six months in Congress, if it allows Roach to be elected to the next two-year term.
Is the California Republican Party skewed so far to the right and so distorted by ideology, that it is willing to risk the loss of this seat in congress to keep it out of the hands of a fellow Republican? Spence and Fleischman are the voices of a party that doesn't want Bilbray in a safe and secure seat in congress for the next decade or two. Can their strategy succeed?

UPDATE: More for Congressional Quarterly. Will he or won't he stuff about Roach.