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GOP Primary Challenge : Westlake Official Weighs Race Against Gallegly

Times Staff Writer

A Westlake Village city councilman said Thursday he may challenge first-term Rep. Elton Gallegly of Simi Valley in the June 7 Republican primary.

Franklin D. Pelletier, 45, an attorney, said he has a formed a committee to explore his chances of winning the 21st District seat. Pelletier will decide whether to run after meeting with supporters over the weekend, he said.

“I honestly believe that I am better qualified to represent the district” than Gallegly, said Pelletier, who has served on the Westlake Village council for six years.

Pelletier charged that Gallegly has failed to represent business interests in the district, which includes eastern Ventura County, part of the north and west San Fernando Valley, Fillmore, Ojai and Santa Catalina Island.

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“The district representative needs a hands-on, one-on-one relationship with local business to see what is available and to help secure government work,” Pelletier said. He said he would work to have local businesses receive a larger share of government contracts.

Pelletier said he has a good chance of winning because Gallegly has failed to gain strong name recognition among voters in the solidly Republican district.

Gallegly, 43, succeeded Rep. Bobbi Fiedler last year after Fiedler’s unsuccessful 1986 bid for the U.S. Senate. Gallegly served on the Simi Valley City Council from 1979 to 1986.

Gallegly administrative assistant Mike Sedell denied Pelletier’s claim that the congressman has failed to serve local business interests. Gallegly has worked closely with local chambers of commerce and has been endorsed for reelection by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Sedell said.

Pelletier, who describes himself as a middle-of-the-road Republican, said that if he decides to run, he plans to raise about $250,000 for his campaign. Half of that will come from his own pocket, he said. The rest will likely come from business interests, he said.

Pelletier is a partner in the Woodland Hills law firm of Pelletier, Supancic and Gill. He has held positions in a variety of development firms and financial institutions and has taught business and real-estate law at California State University, Northridge for 10 years, Pelletier said.

Sang R. Korman of Newbury Park, a Korean-American businessman and political newcomer, already has begun a campaign to unseat Gallegly in the primary.


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