Republican state Assemblyman Jeff Gorell announced plans Monday to run for Congress next year against Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Oak Park) in a Ventura County-based swing district.
Gorell's candidacy puts an end to former state Sen. Tony Strickland's campaign to take on Brownley again. And it's likely to add to speculation that Strickland will run for Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon's seat if the Santa Clarita Republican decides not to seek reelection.
Strickland already has endorsed Gorell, as have McKeon and a host of other GOP leaders, according to Gorell's campaign announcement.
Brownley defeated Strickland, 53%-47%, last year in the newly drawn 26th Congressional District, where Democrats hold just a four-point registration edge over Republicans and where one-fifth of voters are not affiliated with any political party.
Congressional Republican campaign leaders already have targeted the seat and their Democratic counterparts have Brownley on their list of their 26 most vulnerable House members.
Gorell, 43, of Camarillo, a former deputy district attorney, was first elected to the Assembly in 2010 and was called back to active duty by the Navy in 2011 and served in Afghanistan. He returned the following year and won re-election. He previously worked in then-Gov. Pete Wilson's administration.
"Partisan games and gridlock in Washington are crippling our great nation," Gorell said in his announcement statement. "I'm sick and tired of it, as are most Americans."