Rep. John Campbell, an Irvine Republican representing the 48th Congressional District, which includes Laguna Beach, failed to receive the endorsement of the Republican Party of Orange County at a central committee meeting Monday.
The vote of 41-22 fell short of the two-thirds majority Campbell needed in order to secure an endorsement for the newly drawn 45th Congressional District. Some suggest Campbell lost support among conservative county Republicans because of his support of the $700 billion Trouble Asset Relief Program for banks.
County GOP Chairman Scott Baugh doesn’t believe the lack of endorsement will have any lasting effect on Campbell’s campaign. “I’m personally supporting John Campbell,” Baugh said, predicting Campbell will still win in the June primary and general election in November. “He’s a strong incumbent and we look forward to his re-election,” said Baugh.
Lack of the GOP’s endorsement should boost the chances of Campbell’s Democratic Party challenger, Irvine’s mayor Sukhee Kang, said a statement by Frank Barbaro, chair of the county Democratic Party. “We thought all along that Mayor Kang could win by virtue of his of appeal to voters of a wide political spectrum in that congressional district,” Barbaro said.
California’s congressional districts have been reconfigured by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, which certified final district maps last Aug. 15. The changes will take effect with the upcoming 2012 election.
Campbell and Kang will both be on the ballot as candidates for the new 45th Congressional District, which includes Anaheim Hills, Coto de Caza, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Orange, Rancho Santa Margarita, Tustin and Villa Park.
Laguna Beach remains in the 48th Congressional District, reconfigured to include Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach and Midway City. Republican Dana Rohrabacher, who currently represents the 46th Congressional District and has held the post since 2003, will seek re-election in the 48th Congressional District this fall. To date, he has no opponents.
Maps of the newly configured districts can be found at http://wedrawthelines.ca.gov/maps-final-draft-congressional-districts.html