McClintock considers run for Doolittle’s seat |

McClintock considers run for Doolittle’s seat

WASHINGTON (AP) ” State Sen. Tom McClintock, a darling of California conservatives, may add his name to the already crowded GOP primary field in the Northern California district now represented by John Doolittle, his political adviser said Tuesday.

McClintock represents Thousand Oaks in Southern California, but the GOP incumbent in his area, Rep. Elton Gallegly, plans to seek re-election. Doolittle, under investigation in a Washington lobbying scandal, announced he will retire at the end of his current term.

That creates a rare open House seat in a conservative district and an opportunity for McClintock, who will be forced by term limits to give up his state Senate seat at the end of this year.

McClintock “has been getting almost a torrent of support” since conservative activists floated his name last week, adviser John Feliz told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

McClintock has formed an exploratory committee to raise money for polling and other activities and likely will make an announcement by the end of the week, Feliz said.

“I would say ‘strongly considering’ is an apt description,” he said.

Already in the race are former Rep. Doug Ose and former state Sen. Rico Oller, among others.

McClintock is a GOP standard-bearer who has had several unsuccessful runs for statewide office, including governor during the 2003 recall, controller in 1994 and 2002, and lieutenant governor in 2006.

He also ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1992.

The 4th Congressional District takes in suburbs of Sacramento as well as the Truckee-Tahoe area. Doolittle, who is under federal criminal investigation in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, is in his ninth term representing the district but announced last month that he would retire.

Ose and Oller indicated McClintock’s decision would not change their plans.

“He and I have been friends for many years and he is a solid conservative, and ideologically he and I are very similar to each other,” Oller said. “I just wonder why he doesn’t run where he’s from.”

Oller has been casting himself as the true conservative in the race.

Ose spokesman Doug Elmets said Ose has “an extensive list of supporters, and he’s absolutely committed to running.”

“I’ve not seen nor has Doug Ose seen anything that indicates that Tom McClintock is inclined to run for this seat,” Elmets said. “In fact, I think that it’s Doug Ose’s feeling and the feeling of many Republicans that he’s the prime candidate for running for governor in 2010.”

A third GOP candidate, Air Force reservist Eric Egland, issued a statement urging McClintock to run. Egland said he would drop out and support him if he did.

“I started this campaign because I wanted to offer ethical, conservative leadership that I believe is missing from Congress. With Senator McClintock, I see no need to continue my campaign. I cannot think of a person more qualified to carry that torch,” Egland said.

Whichever Republican wins the June primary will likely face Democrat Charlie Brown, a former Air Force officer who came close to beating Doolittle in 2006.

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