Who will take a seat?

Now that Chris Cox is a private citizen again and people can be open

about their ambitions to replace him in Congress, a new set of

potential candidates is getting the chance to be coy. While state

Sen. John Campbell is chasing the House seat, others are eyeing the

vacancy he'll leave if he wins.

Just like the Congressional candidates before there was an

official opening there, Senate hopefuls have equivocated because no

one's sure there's a seat to run for.

Huntington Beach Assemblyman Tom Harman is definitely in the race.

The list of possible candidates includes Orange County GOP Chairman

Scott Baugh, Newport Beach Assemblyman Chuck DeVore and real estate

magnate Kevin Hayes Sr. -- all Republicans.

Asked how serious he is about a Senate run, Hayes said Tuesday,

"I'm a pretty serious guy in general, but as for a run for that seat,

I can tell you I'm still undecided."

Hayes, 49, is a board member of the moderate fundraising group the

New Majority and chairman of corporate real estate firm Cresa

Partners, and on Wednesday he became a Newport Beach resident after

relocating from Irvine.

DeVore said Tuesday he's interested in the seat, but the timing of

the election will clinch things for him.

"When these things come up, especially in the era of term limits,

you never lightly dismiss it," he said.

But on the other hand, with a safe Assembly seat and more than

five years before he's termed out, DeVore said, "there's a lot to be

said for just sticking to the task at hand."

Republicans not slouching on beefing up campaign coffers

As of Wednesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had yet to call the

special election to replace Rep. Chris Cox, who left office Tuesday

to head the Securities and Exchange Commission. But Republican

candidates weren't slouching on fundraising, with an event scheduled

today in Newport Beach for former Assemblywoman Marilyn Brewer.

As of Monday, Brewer said she's got about $185,000 in her campaign

coffers. Campbell, her leading GOP opponent, said he has commitments

totaling $400,000, but his cash total Monday was about $320,000.

Women in Leadership, a nonpartisan group that backs women

candidates who support abortion rights, will hold a fundraiser for

Brewer tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. at Muldoon's Irish Pub at Fashion

Island. Brewer will speak at 6:15 p.m.

Campbell did not have any fundraisers scheduled as of Wednesday,

but said he might set one up with the governor, who just endorsed

him.

Pundits go a little

way out on a limb

And just because it's always fun to make political predictions --

or in this case to avoid looking foolish later by letting others make

them -- here are what some politicos have to say about the race for

Cox's House seat:

Former Rep. Bob Dornan, on his chances in a primary race against

Campbell: "I feel that in a head-on, I could take him based on

experience."

UC Irvine political scientist Louis De Sipio on Dornan's chances:

"Dornan at this point, I think, is past his prime ... and this is a

different district than the one he ran in, meaning his sort of moral

conservatism will actually play a lot less well."

And De Sipio on Campbell: "My sense is that Campbell has the

advantage because he can bring in the legislative leadership to

support him."

New Majority board member and GOP activist Dale Dykema on the

race: "John Campbell certainly is the one who is most likely to win

that race.... I really question whether or not Marilyn Brewer will

stay in the race if we have no other candidates there, because she

would have to spend quite a bit of money in order to make it a

competitive race, and I don't think any amount of money that she

would spend would be enough to overcome the advantages that John

Campbell has."

Still time to drop

by Cox's office

Former Rep. Chris Cox announced Tuesday -- his last day as an

elected official -- that his California and Washington, D.C., offices

will stay open to answer questions and work on problems for

constituents of the 48th Congressional District, which includes

Newport Beach.

The clerk of the House of Representatives, Jeff Trandahl, will be

supervising operations in those offices until a new representative is

elected. Questions and comments can still be directed to the capital

office at (202)225-5611 or the Newport Beach office at (949)756-2244.

He'll get water into your tap

Local resident and business owner Shawn Dewane has been appointed

to the Mesa Consolidated Water District board of directors. Dewane,

who lives in Costa Mesa and runs an Raymond James Financial Services

office in Newport Beach, was chosen from nine candidates to represent

Division 5. He replaced R. Michael Healey, who retired from the board

in June.

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