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California

U.S. Chamber backs Democratic Rep. Scott Peters over GOP’s Carl DeMaio

Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego)
Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego), campaigning for the House seat in 2012, has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
(Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which usually favors Republican candidates, on Wednesday endorsed Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego), who is in a tight Nov. 4 election battle with GOP challenger Carl DeMaio.

In its endorsement letter to Peters, the chamber said it believed his reelection would “help produce sustained economic growth, help create jobs and get our country back on track.”

Calling the chamber’s backing a “blockbuster endorsement,” the Peters campaign held a late-morning news conference at its Kearny Mesa headquarters to highlight the announcement.

Peters said the endorsement, from an organization that bills itself as the world’s largest business group, was evidence that the chamber recognized his efforts to work with both major parties to create jobs and boost the economy.

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Peters, who defeated Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray for the seat two years ago, said he had made job creation a top priority in his first term.

DeMaio, a former San Diego city councilman who was recruited by Republican leaders to challenge Peters this year, downplayed the endorsement. But Rob Engstrom, the chamber’s national political director, said in a tweet that the DeMaio campaign had “actively sought” its endorsement.

“We’re not surprised that a special interest group in D.C. is trying to protect members of Congress — they like the system the way it is,” DeMaio campaign spokesman Dave McCulloch. “They know Carl DeMaio is coming to end the perks for this crowd.” 

A chamber spokeswoman said the organization had endorsed more than 260 candidates in the upcoming elections, only four of whom are Democrats.

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