Rep. Buck McKeon is featured in a Los Angeles KCAL 9 video.
With less than a week to go in the California primary, a powerful Southern California congressman finds himself facing his toughest test in more than a decade.
Political reporter Dave Bryan said Republican Howard “Buck” McKeon has spent much of his campaign deflecting charges, not just from the Democrats, but from his fellow Republicans as well.
The election should be a cakewalk, but by all accounts it might be close.
Says Bryan, charges of nepotism, sweetheart deals, and a nasty war of words with his former district director have made the once-solid-red 25th district anyone’s game.
The 25th district stretches from Simi Valley to Mammoth Mountain. It includes parts of Lancaster, Thousand Oaks, Santa Clarita and Palmdale.
After two decades on Capitol Hill, Santa Clarita’s first Mayor, Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon is an institution in California’s 25th congressional district. Now he’s risen to become chair of the House Armed Services Committee, one of the most powerful positions in Washington.
McKeon is so well known and liked in this district, he hasn’t had a tough race for Congress since his very first in 1992.
“Some I have had very little competition,” McKeon says, “this one there’s a lot more competition.
In fact this year’s election may be a referendum on McKeon himself. He’s been hounded by reports that he took a sweetheart deal on a mortgate refi in 1998 from Countrywide Financial. He flatly denies the charges, and says he’s not being investigated by the House Ethics committee.
Podiatrist and surgeon Lee Rogers, a Democrat who’s running against McKeon, has a different take on the Countrywide deal..
“People look at that and they say there’s two sets of rules. There’s the rules that they’re operating by and there’s the rules that the rest of us operate by.”
Is McKeon worried his opponent’s damaging words are landing? “We’ll find out next week,” he says, “I don’t believe most people believe what’s being said.”
McKeon’s wife Patricia, who, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington — a campaign watchdog group — made hundreds of thousands of dollars as her husband’s campaign treasurer over the years, is also running for office this year..
“She’s running for the State Assembly and she’s a hard worker,” says McKeon.
McKeon’s former district director Scott Wilk, doesn’t go along with that and he is her opponent.
They’re calling it the “Family Feud.”
Watch the video report here.
The sorry fact is that Rep. Buck McKeon will win a top two spot in the November general election just on pure political power. Buck has the campaign cash and the organization that far surpasses any of his opponents. Plus, the CA-25 Congressional District is solidly Republican in registration.
It is not so certain that she will be able to win a top two spot in AD-38.
And, if Patricia falls, will the GOP split be so great as to imperil Buck’s campaign in the general election?