State Sen. Marian Bergeson (R-Newport Beach) on Monday opted out of the 40th Congressional District race, opening the way for a tough Republican battle to succeed Rep. Robert E. Badham.
In announcing her decision, Bergeson said, "The advantages in Congress really were not that compelling in comparison to what I could do in the state Legislature."
She said she was gratified by the "outpouring of support" that came her way after Badham, also a Newport Beach Republican, announced on Jan. 3 that he would not seek a seventh term, but she had decided to run for reelection in her Senate district this fall.
Bergeson, who has four grown children with her husband, Garth, said that "proximity to my family was a very important factor in my decision as well."
According to several people close to her, Bergeson, 60, said another factor was the seniority system in Congress. It would have been several years before she could have risen within that system to a position of authority. In Sacramento, she is chairman of the Senate Local Government Committee and vice chairman of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee.
Had Bergeson decided to run for Badham's seat--in what is considered to be one of the safest Republican districts in the nation--nearly all conceded it was hers. Three elected officials who also were interested had indicated they would sit out the race if Bergeson ran, although Badham's opponent in the 1986 primary, Newport Beach business consultant Nathan Rosenberg, and two minor Republican candidates had said they would run against her.
Councilman in Race
A few hours after Bergeson made her announcement at a news conference, one of those elected officials, Irvine Councilman C. David Baker, 34, declared his candidacy for Badham's seat. The other two, Assemblyman Gil Ferguson (R-Newport Beach), 53, and Orange County Supervisor Roger R. Stanton, 50, said they had not yet decided whether to run.
If Ferguson and Stanton decide to run in the 40th District rather than seek reelection, there would be contests to replace them, raising GOP fears that money would be drained from legislative races around the state where Republicans hope to gain seats from Democrats.