The scramble to succeed retiring Rep. Robert E. Badham (R-Newport Beach) began in earnest Monday as two Republicans announced that they will seek the nomination in the heavily GOP 40th District and four officeholders, also Republicans, studied their prospects.
Badham, 58, who told supporters at a holiday party at his home Sunday that he would not seek reelection to a seventh term, made his decision official Monday morning at a press conference in his district office.
"I think I have at least another good career in me," said Badham, mentioning in particular the defense industry. Badham is a member of the House Armed Services subcommittees on procurement and research and development. Speaking to reporters with his wife, Anne, at his side, Badham added, "There has been no 'burnout' or anything even approaching that."
Only a few hours later, Nathan Rosenberg, Badham's surprise challenger in the 1986 primary, staged his own press conference to announce that he would run for Badham's seat. Rosenberg, a management consultant, garnered 35% of the vote in the hastily put together primary campaign against Badham, who has been widely criticized--even among some Republican leaders--for his lack of leadership in the Capitol and his preoccupation with worldwide travel.
Rosenberg, 35, said he thought it could take up to $1 million to win the nomination, depending on the number and toughness of the candidates. He said he already has $200,000 in his campaign fund and expects an additional $150,000 by the time of a planned $1,000-per-person fund-raiser on Jan. 27.
Also throwing his hat into the ring Monday was Charles S. Devore, a 25-year-old Pentagon expert in strategic studies who is virtually unknown among Orange County politicians. Devore called reporters from Washington to reveal his intentions. According to the county registrar of voters office, Devore registered to vote in San Clemente a month ago.
The four officeholders--state Sen. Marian Bergeson and Assemblyman Gil Ferguson of Newport Beach, Orange County Supervisor Roger Stanton and Irvine Councilman Dave Baker--all said Monday that they intend to make their decisions within a few weeks, or even days.
As the posturing took place, Republicans voiced concern that the congressional race would siphon off money needed by the GOP in its effort to win state legislative seats in other areas. This is a priority for the Republicans, who want to gain control of the 1990 reapportionment process. Democrats currently control the Assembly and state Senate.
Winning the GOP nomination in the district, in which Republicans outnumber Democrats by a margin of 59% to 30%, is tantamount to winning the general election.