The mayor of Rancho Palos Verdes, Robert Ryan, says he may wage a write-in campaign this fall against Dana Rohrabacher, the Republican candidate in the 42nd Congressional District.
Ryan said he fears that the election of former White House speech writer Rohrabacher would be an "unmitigated disaster" for the district.
"He is the Tom Hayden of the right," Ryan said, referring to the liberal Democratic assemblyman from Santa Monica. "He represents someone in the speech-writer corps that was always trying to push Ronald Reagan into extreme positions." He accused Rohrabacher, who was registered as a member of the Libertarian Party before taking his job at the White House eight years ago, of being a "Libertarian at heart."
"So what?" Rohrabacher responded in an interview. "I used to be a very strong Libertarian in the past, and I mean in the distant past. But . . . I am now a Reagan Republican at heart, and they're shouldn't be any doubt about that."
Rohrabacher, 40, easily defeated seven other candidates in an expensive and bitter contest for the congressional seat long held by Rep. Daniel E. Lungren (R-Long Beach). Rohrabacher is expected to have little trouble defeating Democrat Guy Kimbrough and Peace and Freedom Party candidate Richard D. Rose in November.
Ryan, 57, an engineer for Northrop Corp., has been a member of the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council since the city was incorporated in 1973. He narrowly lost a race for the GOP nomination in the old 27th Congressional District in June, 1982. At the time, the district, represented by Rep. Mel Levine (D-Santa Monica), stretched along the coast from Rancho Palos Verdes to the Ventura County line.
The heavily Republican 42nd district stretches from Torrance around the Palos Verdes Peninsula across a narrow band of Long Beach to Huntington Beach and northwestern Orange County.