Skip to comments.Bilbray anounces for Cunningham's vacant seat
Posted on 12/01/2005 1:59:45 PM PST by LdSentinal
SOLANA BEACH Former South Bay Congressman Brian Bilbray said Thursday he would run for the 50th District congressional seat to be vacated by admitted felon Randy "Duke" Cunningham. Cunningham resigned Monday after pleading guilty to conspiracy and income tax evasion for accepting bribes from defense contractors. He had said in July that he would not run for re-election.
Bilbray, 54, made his announcement in the parking lot of Solana Beach's lifeguard headquarters at Fletcher Cove with his wife, Karen, daughter Brianna and son Patrick by his side and his 85-year-old mother, Mavis Clute, looking on.
He said there were three key issues he wanted to focus on in his campaign, the first being illegal immigration and securing the U.S. Mexican border.
"Seventy-seven million dollars comes out of the health-care pockets of San Diegans alone and is given to people who should not be here," he said.
Bilbray said his other priorities would be getting the budget process in Washington, D.C., under control and reducing traffic congestion in the North County.
Bilbray called Cunningham's misdeeds a "tragedy" that "boggled the mind," but said it was time to move forward and leave the scandal behind.
"I have been in the sunlight and not the shadows, and everyone in San Diego knows this and knows me," Bilbray said. "They know my triumphs, defeats and tragedies. I am not a follower."
The three-time Imperial Beach congressman said if he was returned to Congress he would maintain the seniority he had when he left office in 2001, and that would give him the sway to get things done.
"The other candidates have no seniority in D.C., in a town where seniority is everything," he said. "How will freshmen get anything done?"
Bilbray is the second of several candidates to officially announce his run for Cunningham's seat.
Last month, former state Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian of Carlsbad, who served northern San Diego County in the Legislature from 1994 to 2000, announced his intention to run for the open seat.
Other Republicans who have expressed interest in running include state Sen. Bill Morrow of Oceanside; businessman Alan Uke of Del Mar; Assemblyman Mark Wyland of Del Mar; county Supervisor Pam Slater-Price; county Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister; and Escondido Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler.
The only announced Democratic candidate is Francine Busby, a Cardiff schools trustee who ran a spirited campaign against Cunningham last November but lost.
The 50th District includes Carlsbad, Encinitas, San Marcos, Del Mar, Escondido and large portions of San Diego. Republicans make up 45 percent of the registered voters in the district and Democrats make up 30 percent.
The special election to replace Cunningham is to be held next year, possibly in April. Setting the date is up to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who must decide if it should be held early in the year or combined with the June 6 state primary election. If the election is held early, a runoff if necessary could be held with the primary.
Once the seat is officially vacated, the governor has 14 days to issue a special election proclamation.
Bilbray said he has been living with his mother in La Costa for the last three or four months and splits his time between there and Washington, D.C., where he has been working the last few years as a lobbyist on behalf of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. There is no residency requirement for congressional candidates.
An avid surfer known for his political trademarks a Hawaiian shirt and a wet suit Bilbray represented the 49th Congressional District in the South Bay for 6 years from 1995 to 2001.
He narrowly lost his re-election bid in 2000 to Democratic Assemblywoman Susan Davis.
Bilbray also served as a San Diego County supervisor from 1985 to 1995, as the mayor of Imperial Beach from 1978 to 1985 and a city councilman from 1976 to 1978. He is married and has five children
Bilbray was once describd as "The bullet of the Patomac" because of his stellar rise in Congress.
His defeat by Susan Davis was a sad day in San Diego.
I don't blame him for this bid, but I'm sorry to see such stiff competition for Kaloogian.
Will be interesting to hear Roger Hedgecock's comments, as he is a friend of both good men.
Mandatory Kaloogian plug...
:::sigh::: me, too.
Bilbray was one of the really great Contract With America congressmen, which was why he was targeted by the Clintons. Would love to see him back.
Should be a juicy race, fueled no doubt by the press pitting good R's against each other.
Sure don't look forward to that.
This fellow sounds like the person the CAGOP should run for Governor next year.
Bilbray needs to go take his seat back from Susan Davis. This seat is Howard Kaloogian's, period.
"Bilbray needs to go take his seat back from Susan Davis."
The CAGOP has an excellent opportunity and a bullet proof excuse to dump the Austrian liberal. The announced Democrat candidates in 2006 are weak and California would be a tough market for another celebrity fool thanks to recent events should Reiner try to emerge from the shadows.
Bilbray may not be the best answer but the CAGOP can salvage their reputation and rectify the chaos they've enabled if they select a stable, predictable, marketable candidate by January 2006.
Bilbray is already a loser
What do you know thousands of miles away.
I worked in the same bldg. same floor as Bilbray when he
was a Co. Supervisor.
He was great when a congressman.
If elected, he would enter Congress as a senior member, a HUGE plus.
He's 100% dedicated to border control AND fixing the horrid traffic boondoggle in the North County corridor.
This is no time for personality games. It's a matter of who can accomplish most.
"If elected, he would enter Congress as a senior member"
Then call Hedgecock's show and dispute Bilbray yourself. He accomplished a lot in his 3 terms and his seniority is in tact.
I live in Encinitas, and was horrified by the Duke's fsckup.
I'll be watching this race REALLY closely. Hopefully there will be plenty of public forums to pose the illegal invasion questions, as in, question #1: "Will you be a strong ally of Tom Tancredo's?"
The article contains an error. Assemblyman Mark Wyland is running for the state Senate seat being vacated by Bill Morrow.
As for Brian Bilbray, he is yesterday's news. The winner will either be Howard Kaloogian (who has a strong following among conservatives) or Bill Morrow (who already represents most of the district in the legislature).
He was the teenage mayor of Imperial Beach when he got tired of the Tijuana Estuary polluting the beach. Got into a bulldozer and plugged up the entrance.
Wish we had MORE like him in Congress.
I remember that. It wasn't just a photo op, either.
He rolls up his shirt sleeves and doesn't promote anything he's not willing to do himself.
I dunno. Do you consider 27 to be a teenager ? ;-)
hiya, sure Howard is a good guy but Bilbray I think
would be far better and has first hand knowledge how
Congress runs and a proven record.
Just came back to this thread. From 3 to 5:00 I listen
to Mark Levin, one of the very few talk shows worth hearing
and we have a great live thread on FR
Sure I do.
In fact, I consider myself to be a teenager. But you are right, I guess I heard it wrong. But still, it shows gumption.
Coming from someone who has not only met them both, but actually worked with and witnessed Bilbray in action, you're assessment means a LOT.
Have to check out that live thread. Thanks.
You're not kidding.
Everything that will come out about Bilbray shows his devotion to action.
Since leaving Congress, he's been a lobbyist in DC, working with the very same folks he worked with before. He says the only difference is that he hasn't had to sit through all the sessions.
"He lost, plus I like Howard better."
Mr. Creel, we Californians won't tell you North Carolinians who to put in Congress if you refrain from telling us who to send there. I suspect that Mr. Bilbray is far more electable than Mr. Kaloogian, and I respect both men.
You better be careful with that tagline, they may stick their pins in their doll with your name on it. =8-0>
Cunningham beat Busby easily-- 169,025 to 105,590.
Hurt to bust your bubble, guys, but Bilbray scored a fairly paltry 71% lifetime Conservative rating from the ACU (and 68% in his final year before his 2000 defeat). That was fine for a seat that he took from a liberal 'Rat, but not in a very Conservative GOP seat. This district can send someone with a 100% score without worry about a backlash. Kaloogian is the man for this seat.
You know San Diego, right? What about these guys, Bilbray and Kaloogian? Any thoughts?
I can't vote for him, I live in Issa's district next door, but i'm sending my money to Kaloogian.
I'm going to butt out ~ it's not my district either.
Local news ping.
If Bilbray is going to defend the border, I'm 100% for him!
Danger is my middle name...
I don't see him as a RINO. He ain't a tree hugger, and he's conservative enough to fill the Duke's seat.
I hope he wins!
See my post #27.
How about that RAT Francine Busby? Howard Kaloogian sent the following in an e-mail dated 12/3/05 -
The Washington, D.C. publication "The Hill" reports on the political maneuverings of Democrat leaders: [Excerpt: "Since Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.) resigned Monday after admitting to bribery charges, Francine Busby, the Democrat seeking his seat, has been flooded with calls from leading Democratic officials encouraged that she can now win..."]
"I met Bilbray before he was a Congresscritter, and while he was a congresscritter.
I don't see him as a RINO. He ain't a tree hugger, and he's conservative enough to fill the Duke's seat."
"I doubt that Hastert will offer anything to Bilbray".
I happen to doubt you are correct. Hastert gave Lungren his seniority back, just one year ago. Lungren was also in an even more heavily republican district than Bilbray is running in. It is a tradition that the speaker grants seniority to returning members and there is frankly abosolutely no reason to believe the Speaker would grant it to Lungren and not Bilbray. It is pretty much a given he will get it back.
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