Elton Gallegly

CA-26: Rep Elton Gallegly to Retire – Tony Strickland, Steve Bennett and Linda Parks to Run

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I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico at a funeral when I received notice that long-time Republican Congressman and friend, Elton Gallegly was releasing that he was retiring.

When I was at Elton’s home a few weeks ago, I received the impression that this would be Elton’s choice. He did outlay the scenarios of re-election strategy, but I could see that his interests were elsewhere. He wants to start a new phase of his life – outside the Congress.

And, who can blame him?

Now, who will seek the seat?

California State Senator Tony Strickland a conservative Republican has informally announced his candidacy, along with Democrat Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett (Ventura Ojai). Moderate Republican Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks who represents the Thousand Oaks and Oak Park area has also informally announced her candidacy.

Plus, there are some other lesser known Democrats: business man David Cruz-Thayne and Moorpark City Council member David Pollock.

Remember the June primary election will be a top two process – whether it be Democrats or Republicans. Therefore, it is possible that the two Republicans Linda Parks and Tony Strickland could be running in the November general election.

There will be a lot more later, since this seat will be one of the few contested California Congressional races this cycle.


CA-26: Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett to Announce Candidacy for Congress

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Today, Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett, a former Ojai High School teacher and administrator will announce he will run for Congress next year. The Ventura County Star has the full story.

Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett has scheduled a speech at Patagonia headquarters at noon today at which he is expected to announce he will be a candidate for Congress next year.

Bennett, a Democrat, is scheduled to speak with employees of the renowned Ventura-based outdoor gear company, and sources close to the supervisor said this morning he will make his announcement at that time.

The announcement will end months of intense speculation as Bennett, who will be forced to end his service on the Board of Supervisors, has weighed the pros and cons of staking his political future on a run for the new 26th Congressional District seat.

He will join Moorpark City Councilman David Pollock and Westlake Village businessman David Cruz Thayne as announced Democratic candidates in the race, which is expected to be highly competitive and attract national attention as one of the nation’s key congressional battlegrounds in 2012.

No Republican has yet announced, as potential candidates await an announcement from Rep. Elton Gallegly of Simi Valley as to whether he will choose to seek a 14th term by running in that district.

Bennett will likely face off against either incumbent GOP Rep. Elton Gallegly or GOP California State Senator Tony Strickland.

My bet, although it is not the conventional wisdom, is that Gallegly will be running against Bennett come November 2012.

Here are the demographics of the 26th Congressional District:

And, how the CD performed:

This race may very well be a key national battleground with a very competitive Congressional District. I look for an expensive campaign easily into the $ millions.