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Leader of Gray Davis Recall Campaign Is Favorite for Cunningham's Seat

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.humaneventsonline.com/blog-detail.php?id=10547 Leader of Gray Davis Recall Campaign Is Favorite for Cunningham s Seat by John Gizzi Posted Nov 28,
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 28, 2005
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      http://www.humaneventsonline.com/blog-detail.php?id=10547

      Leader of Gray Davis Recall Campaign Is Favorite for
      Cunningham's Seat

      by John Gizzi
      Posted Nov 28, 2005
      05:33 PM

      Howard Kaloogian, the conservative who led the
      successful recall campaign against Democrat Gov. Gray
      Davis in 2003, jumped out as the early favorite to
      replace Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R.-Calif.), who
      today pled guilty for accepting $2.4 million in bribes
      and resigned from Congress.

      With Cunningham's announced exit, pundits and pols in
      the Republican-heavy district focused on the
      conservative swashbuckler who had been considered the
      front-runner for the GOP nomination after the
      incumbent congressman said he wouldn't seek
      re-election earlier this year.

      "I'm ready to run now, as I was ready to run then and
      ready to run years ago," former State Assemblyman
      Howard Kaloogian told me. A well-known figure in
      national conservative circles and San Diego Republican
      politics, the 45-year-old Kaloogian had represented a
      legislative district almost contiguous with the
      present congressional district from 1994-2000. A
      strong supporter of the strict term limits legislation
      that ended his own tenure in the legislature,
      Kaloogian has been on the cutting edge of almost every
      major conservative cause and issue for the past
      decade.

      When Cunningham announced his retirement amid the
      investigation that eventually forced him to leave
      Congress, Kaloogian declared for the seat from a
      flight back to Iraq, where he had been visiting U.S.
      troops with conservative radio talk show hostess
      Melanie Morgan. Although he would be joined by five
      other Repubilcans in the primary to succeed
      Cunningham, Kaloogian raised the most money of the
      field and racked up the most endorsements among
      conservatives. Among those weighing in early for the
      conservative hopeful were the Gun Owners of America,
      National Right to Work Committee, Concerned Women for
      America, and Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum.

      Days before Cunningham's resignation, Kaloogian got a
      major boost when the candidate considered most likely
      to divide up the conservative primary vote announced
      he was leaving the House race. Mark Wyland, head of a
      major family-owned lumber business and Kaloogian's
      successor in the Assembly, signaled to supporters that
      he was switching from a race for Congress to a bid to
      succeed outgoing State Sen. William Morrow. Six years
      after he lost a primary in the neighboring district to
      present Rep. Darrell Issa, Morrow is also running to
      succeed Cunningham in the 50th.

      Along with Kaloogian and Morrow, the other leading
      candidates for the Republican nomination in the 50th
      are moderate former Rep. (1994-2000) Brian Bilbray,
      who represented a neighboring district until his
      defeat by Democrat Susan Davis six years ago, and
      businessman Alan Uke, who brought the U.S.S. Midway to
      San Diego as a floating museum. But given his work on
      causes ranging from the recall of former Democratic
      Gov. (1998-2003) Gray Davis in '03 to his pro-troop
      organization, Kaloogian is the early front-runner on
      the right.

      "Conservative leaders and grassroots conservatives
      know I'll do more than vote right--I'll be a leader
      because I've been there, on causes from gun owners
      rights to the pro-life cause to the U.S. mission in
      Iraq, which is working," Kaloogian told me.

      He also underscored his strong stand on securing the
      border with Mexico and processing immigrants who come
      in ("19 illegal immigrants were behind 9/11--who knows
      how many like them are among the 2 million who have
      come in over the border without processing?") and on
      freezing the budget for the next fiscal year to stop
      reckless federal spending.

      Support from local and national conservatives is
      particularly important in a California Republican
      primary, since "the party donor based has been drained
      for four years straight," according to Kaloogian. As
      he noted, along with the elections of '02 and '04,
      Republican donors were asked to contribute major
      dollars for the '03 recall elections that brought
      Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the
      governorship and the '05 statewide reform initiatives
      that the GOP governor sought unsuccessfully to pass.

      Most California sources expect Schwarzenegger to set
      sometime in April as the date of the primaries and
      June 6 (when the Golden State holds primaries for
      state and local office) as the date of the special
      election in Cunningham's San Diego-area 50th District.

      John Gizzi is Political Editor of HUMAN EVENTS.
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