By Geoffrey S. Cantor, California Political Review
Orange County GOP Congressman John Campbell announced he would not seek re-election next year on the Hugh Hewett radio show this week. Campbell, whose votes were generally conservative in the Congress, nevertheless had problems with local Republican activists during his term, who were upset by his votes in favor of Federal assistance to the automotive industry, (“TARP”) and by his stand-offish style in refusing to meet with many Republican volunteers who had requested face-time over the years, people who are the front-line of the Party’s “get out the vote” efforts, and whom Campbell should have given some better appreciation.
Campbell, who owned some automobile dealerships, was not a thoroughly popular figure at Orange County Republican Central Committee meetings either, and the Central Committee once narrowly voted to deny him it’s endorsement for re-election. His faulty, almost vainly, arrogant style may have been absorbed by the GOP Leadership in the Congress as well, which denied him any significant Committee Chairmanship assignment during his years in office, or any significant individual legislative accomplishment.
In Campbell’s coastal Congressional district, one of the most Republican in the nation, Barack Obama beat John McCain by a percentage point in the 2008 Presidential election, an eye-popping result in Orange County. In neighboring Dana Rohrabacher’s coastal Congressional seat, McCain clobbered Obama in the same election. Some observers have said that Campbell failed to lead or inspire voters in his district the way engaged conservatives like Rohrabacher have done, and it has been noted that Obama beat McCain in the district while Campbell’s district office Chief of Staff was otherwise occupied running a losing race for himself to a city council seat in the district.
Speculation is now focused on who will be Campbell’s successor candidates, and whether an inspirational conservative leader like Rohrabacher might be among them. Among them is one-time rising star, Republican State Senator Mimi Walters. Walters had been planning on running for Orange County Supervisor, but told FlashReport.org that she has shifted to the Congressional race.
Walters is wealthy and can be a self-funder, and also has had a generally conservative record in the State Legislature. However, in the last weeks it has been widely reported that she broke her pledge, signed and delivered to Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, to not vote for a tax hike, which she recently did in extending a tax at the urging of liberal Democrats in the Legislature.
Source: California Political Review