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UPDATE: Tony Strickland files to run in SCV congressional district

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Posted: December 2, 2013 4:09 p.m.
Updated: December 2, 2013 8:22 p.m.

Republican and former state Sen. Tony Strickland has filed paperwork to run in the 25th Congressional District, which encompasses the Santa Clarita Valley and is currently represented by Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon.

Strickland, whose state Senate district took in part of the Santa Clarita Valley, filed with the Federal Elections Commission about a week after effectively bowing out of another congressional race, according to online records from the FEC.

Though Strickland’s move does not guarantee he will seek the seat long held by Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, it does signify a change in intent for the Republican, who ran for a seat in the 26th Congressional District in 2012, losing to now-incumbent Democrat Julia Brownley. In recent months Strickland filed paperwork to run against her again in 2014.

But last week he apparently had a change of heart, instead endorsing state Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, for that seat.

Strickland’s declaration could add fuel to the rumors swirling that McKeon plans to retire rather than run again in 2014, but

McKeon spokeswoman Alissa McCurley said Monday no decision of the sort has been made.

“From our perspective, nothing really has changed,” McCurley said. “He (McKeon) is not going to think about 2014 until 2014.”

Like Strickland, McKeon has filed a statement of candidacy with the FEC authorizing a 2014 campaign.

McCurley said McKeon is focused on passing the National Defense Authorization Act, a federal law outlining the nation’s defense budget, and will make a decision on his political future afterward.

McCurley also shot down rumors that McKeon is delaying his decision to give Strickland a leg-up on other potential Republican challengers in the 25th Congressional District.

“All these conspiracy theories aren’t really what’s going on,” she said. “It’s always been our philosophy that until he decides he’s not going to run, we are planning to run.”

Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, recently penned an online commentary calling on McKeon to announce his intentions sooner rather than later in the face of such rumors, saying delaying the decision could disadvantage other Republican candidates who might be interested in running should McKeon retire.

“I think we should have somebody who actually lives in the district and is well-versed in the district to represent the district,” Wilk said Monday.

Strickland, who could not be reached for comment Monday, served in the California State Senate from 2008 to 2012. Prior to that he was a member of the state Assembly from 1998 to 2004.

Strickland joins several Democrats, including 2012 nominee Lee Rogers, in announcing they are looking at running in the 25th Congressional District.

Llano resident Jorge Ricardo “J.R.” Puentes Jr. and Lancaster resident and Air Force veteran Evan Thomas have also announced they plan to run.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney



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