Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Congressman Elton Gallegly Running...Or Not?


Gallegly was a shoo-in when he suddenly announced last week that he would not seek re-election due to health reasons. (Not the "I want to spend time with my family" excuse?) The 24th Congressional District was gerrymandered to include more Democratic areas with Gallegly's Ventura County Simi Valley stronghold. (e.g. Carpinteria in Santa Barbara County) Gallegly has been an under-the-radar rubber stamp for all things Republican, including Tom DeLay's "ethics", in his gazillion years in the House. Gallegly also gave $5,000 to DeLay's legal defense fund. But the Republicans in charge won't allow him to leave. David Dreier popped up from behind his rock to proclaim Gallegly was still in the running and he supported him.

Roll Call
GOP Source: Gallegly to Switch Course, Seek Re-election
Monday, March 13

Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.) has reconsidered a last-minute decision to retire and will announce Tuesday that he intends to seek re-election this year after all, a move that comes at the urging of House leaders and members of California’s GOP delegation, a knowledgeable source said late Monday.

Gallegly’s sudden retirement announcement Friday spawned political chaos in his district, leaving some Republicans to threaten write-in campaigns to succeed him. Over the weekend local party leaders, assuming Gallegly was calling it quits, had begun lining up behind attorney Michael Tenenbaum, a first-time candidate who originally was planning to challenge the Congressman in the June 6 Republican primary.

A House Republican aide familiar with the conversations said that Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) and others spent Monday recommending to Gallegly that he run for and serve one more term, as California law prevents him from removing his name from the primary ballot. “Elton has had such a good career, there’s no need to end it this way,” the aide said. Messages left with Gallegly’s office were not returned Monday.
click map.
Roll Call
Confusion Over Gallegly Persists
Local Support May Crumble

With Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.) expected to announce that he will run for re-election, it was unclear late Tuesday what level of support he could expect from Republican leaders in his district as the fallout from his flip-flopping continued to reverberate.

Ventura County Republican Party Chairwoman Leslie Cornejo, who on Monday endorsed Michael Tenenbaum (R) when it appeared as though he was the only Republican on the ballot who was running, declined to withdraw that endorsement when informed that Gallegly was poised to get back in the race.

But her party’s vice chairman, Ventura County Sheriff Commander David Tennessen, said his allegiance would switch from Tenenbaum back to Gallegly, the 20-year incumbent who announced less than two hours before last Friday’s filing deadline that he was retiring after submitting papers to seek re-election back in February.

“I will look at it. But honestly I’m very likely to leave my statement where it stands,” Cornejo said Tuesday. “I’m not interested in contributing to the confusion. I’m very comfortable with the [endorsement] letter I wrote [for Tenenbaum].”

Multiple messages left with Gallegly’s office on Monday and Tuesday were not returned, but a House Republican aide reiterated Tuesday that Gallegly had in fact changed his mind and was planning to run for re-election to his 24th district seat.
...
Ventura County Recorder-Clerk Philip Schmit confirmed that Gallegly’s attorney called his office at 11:35 a.m. Friday inquiring if the Congressman could withdraw his name from the ballot. Schmit acknowledged that he incorrectly said he could, but said he left a message with Gallegly’s attorney an hour later with the correct information — that he could not.

That doesn’t necessarily jibe with this portion of Gallegly’s statement, released Monday: “Later on Friday, when I formally asked for my name to be withdrawn, only then was I told by the county clerk that he had made a mistake.”

Also, Gallegly said in his statement that “my representatives are also working with the Secretary of State’s Office to seek legislative relief from the California Legislature.” But a secretary of state source said Tuesday that no one associated with Gallegly has been in contact with either the executive or elections divisions of McPherson’s office.

And although Gallegly had cited a medical condition as his reason for announcing his retirement, the House Republican aide said the Congressman has since been given a clean bill of health by doctors.

Gallegly himself told the Ventura County Star in an article published Tuesday that the condition was “nothing catastrophic.”

In a broader context, Democrats only need 15 seats to gain control of the House and theoretically Impeachment Hearings could finally begin. It's about to get very, very dirty. The plot thickens.

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