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Deposed as Legislator, Allen Plans to Keep Hand in Politics

TIMES STAFF WRITER

She has been tossed from office by the voters, ridiculed by her Republican peers as a traitor to the conservative cause. But dethroned Assemblywoman Doris Allen said she isn’t finished quite yet.

On Wednesday, a day after being recalled from her 67th Assembly District seat by a 2-1 vote ratio, the Cypress Republican said, “I walk away proudly. I can’t explain it. I feel free. I feel OK. I did what was right. I’m a good person. If I have any feelings of sorrow, it’s for my constituents. I feel they were duped by a lot of money and lies.”

Although the 13-year state lawmaker has talked often of retiring to land she owns in Montana, Allen said she will stick it out in California for at least the time being, get a job, take care of her elderly mother.

While some Republican insiders were predicting she is washed up, Allen was promising to keep a hand in politics. She said she would aid the budding campaign of former assemblyman Gil Ferguson, who helped her battle the recall and is now headed toward a March Republican primary showdown with state Sen. Ross Johnson of Newport Beach for the coastal 35th state Senate District seat.

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And, for a time Wednesday, the 59-year-old former legislator toyed with the notion of taking out papers to run for the very Assembly seat she had just lost.

Such matters aside, Allen was breathing easier, looking to a future that couldn’t possibly be worse than the past few months. The recall and the hatred voiced by her opponents in the Republican Party seemed like “a gang bang,” she said.

“The gang got to me. They raped me of my good reputation. They raped me of 20 years of a good career. I was raped and the jury was duped.”

For Allen, nothing ahead could be worse than that. “What happens to me happens,” Allen said. “I’ve never charted my course and I’m not going to start now. But I’m glad the recall is finished. It’s kind of like you get the tooth pulled and the ache is over.”

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Although some pundits suggest that Allen might have another shot at office if she lowered her sights and ran for a lesser post like a city council seat, most scoffed at the notion of a political comeback and predicted she will fade into obscurity.

“I think she’s going to leave the biz,” said Harvey Englander, an Orange County political consultant. “I think she’ll take up other pursuits.”

Dan Wooldridge, another consultant, talked of Allen’s resilience and tenacity, but suggested that the longtime lawmaker had burned too many bridges to remain a viable player on any level.

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“Doris entered politics as a school board candidate on the busing issue,” Wooldridge said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see her on the bus out of town in the next year or two.”

But a few suggested that she still might prove a help to Ferguson in what is expected to be his campaign against the same Orange County political cartel that brought Allen down.

Mark Petracca, a UC Irvine political science professor, suggested that Allen might be able to deliver some votes to Ferguson, given that she placed third in the March special election that vaulted Johnson into the Senate.

At the very least, he said, Allen will be remembered as a politician who attempted to cry foul over the demands of Republican conservatives that all party members toe the line.

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“Maybe it will eventually turn out that being subjected to a recall by the Lincoln Club, [state Senate Republican Leader] Rob Hurtt and the rest could be a badge of honor,” Petracca said. “If moderate Republicans don’t end up cowering in the face of the Garden Grove Bobbsey Twins--Hurtt and [Assembly GOP Leader Curt] Pringle--then Doris Allen might be remembered as the person who restored responsible party government.”

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For her part, Allen said she’s proud of her career and the brief, three-month tenure she served as Assembly Speaker. She was elected in June with only her own vote and those of Assembly Democrats and stepped down in September under heavy pressure after making a disparaging remark about the size of her male Republican foes’ genitalia.


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