GOP candidate will try for 30th district

A GOP challenger has thrown her hat in the ring in the race for the redrawn 30th Congressional District, going up against Democratic power players Howard Berman and Brad Sherman in an open primary in June.

Susan Shelley of Woodland Hills describes herself as a social moderate, supporting gay and abortion rights, but a fiscal conservative.

Shelley said the demographics of the district give her a good chance to emerge from the open primary as one of the two candidates moving on to the general election in November 2012.

The new 30th district includes a sliver of western Burbank, but mostly covers southern and western San Fernando Valley.

In an open primary, voters are not limited by party affiliation.

Democrats make up roughly 50% of the district, Shelley said. About 25% are Republicans and another 25% identify as “decline-to-state.”

If Berman and Sherman split the Democratic vote, a Republican who appeals to independents could finish second in the primary, Shelley said, nudging out one of the Democrats.

Shelley sees the current economic stagnation as the result of a shift to collectivism during the past several years, accelerating during President Obama’s term.

Individual rights should be maintained and people should not be penalized for making money, Shelley said, pointing out that Obama’s jobs package removes tax deductions for individuals who make over $200,000 a year.

“I just felt someone should stand up for economic freedom,” she said.

Shelley, who holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Cal State Northridge, said her interest in politics was sparked when she began writing a book about what would happen if the U.S. Constitution were amended to remove the guarantee of “due process of law.”

But once she started to do the legal research, the premise fell apart because due process of law is key to almost 100 years of Supreme Court decisions protecting freedom of speech, she said.

But she persevered to make the premise work.

Her book “The 37th Amendment” was published in 2002, following six years of in-depth research into Supreme Court decisions that used the Constitution’s due process clauses to expand the reach of the Bill of Rights.

—Mark Kellam

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