Talk is heating up about the likely public entry this week into the congressional District 11 race of Republican Dean Andal, a Stockton school board trustee, former assemblyman and former member of the state Board of Equalization.
Andal filed a statement of candidacy Friday with the Federal Election Commission, making him the first Republican to declare his intent to run for the seat held by Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.
Assemblyman Guy Houston, R-San Ramon, has said he is considering a run but hasn’t publicly made up his mind.
Both men visited GOP leaders in Washington, D.C., earlier this year.
Andal, 47, isn’t well-known in the East Bay portion of District 11, which comprises about 45 percent of the district’s voters. (See map here.)
But he’s a veteran of California politics and those who know him say he’s a smart and savvy campaigner who will waste no time lobbying East Bay Republicans for their votes.
Andal is a member of the board of directors of the Lincoln Unified School District. Elected to the state Board of Equalization in 1994, he served two, four-year terms. Prior to the BOE post, he was a Assemblyman who represented Stockton.
Andal ran for state controller in 2002 but lost the Republican nomination to Sen. Tom McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks.
In a face-off with Houston, Andal has a deeper political resume and greater name recognition in San Joaquin County, where the majority of the district’s voters live.
But Houston has won three contested Assembly elections and political observers consider him a tough and persistent campaigner. On the other hand, Houston has said he will seek re-election to his Assembly seat if voters approve a measure headed for the February ballot that would loosen term limits.
The news of Andal’s candidacy won’t surprise McNerney or his campaign staff. They’ve been expecting a strong GOP contender to surface from the minute the Democratic wind energy consultant beat seven-term incumbent Richard Pombo in a shocking upset last November.
McNerney is a Democrat in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats by nearly 6 percentage points, odds that favor the GOP in normal election years. Republicans say this seat is theirs and they intend to do everything possible to reclaim it.
See Congressional Quarterly’s story on Andal at http://www.cqpolitics.com/2007/05/california_freshman_mcnerney_d.html
See blog entry by Carl Fogliani, chief of staff to Assembly Greg Aghazarian, R-Stockton, and former campaign manager for Pombo, at http://www.flashreport.org/blog.php?authID=2006111815301974