Houston steps closer to CD-11 candidacy

Assemblyman Guy Houston, R-Livermore, is headed for the nation’s capital next month where he will talk with national party leaders about a possible run for congressional District 11.

Republicans hope to reclaim the Republican-leaning district after seven-term incumbent Richard Pombo lost in a major upset to Democrat Jerry McNerney in 2006.

Houston will meet in mid-February with National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole of Oklahoma and other leaders in meetings arranged by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield.

He terms out of the Assembly in 2008. Many termed-out members of the Assembly turn to the Senate, but Houston lives in an overwhelmingly Democratic senate district.

“I’m definitely interested although I haven’t committed to running yet,” Houston says.

Houston publicly professed his interest in a congressional bid last week although his name has been on everyone’s lips for months along with GOP Assemblyman Greg Aghazarian, R-Stockton.

Houston says he held off making a move until Pombo decided whether or not to seek re-election.

But Roll Call, a Washington, D.C. paper, reported earlier this week that Pombo was in job talks with Oregon-based PAC/West Communications, a public relations firm whose client list ranges from labor unions to Safari Club International to health care, timber and oil interests.

Pombo couldn’t be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, his former chief of staff, Steve Ding has been hired to open a Sacramento office for PAC/West.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen