Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar will announce his candidacy today for California’s 31st district.
In a statement obtained by Roll Call, the Democrat said he is running “because the Inland Empire needs a representative in Washington who will reach across party lines to create jobs, protect vital programs and improve infrastructure.”
Aguilar’s candidacy, along with the expected retirement of Rep. Jerry Lewis (R), immediately makes this seat a top pickup opportunity for national Democrats, who could gain one-fifth of the seats needed to take back the House majority in California alone.
Lewis, who was drawn into the Democratic-leaning district, has not said what his political plans are, and a spokesman said he currently has no timetable for an announcement. Rep. David Dreier (R), whose district was also carved up, could potentially run here, but he, too, has not given any indication of his thinking.
Two other Republicans mentioned as possible candidates should Lewis retire are state Sen. Bob Dutton and San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos.
Aguilar, a small-business man and member of the Redlands City Council since 2006, joins three Democrats already in the race: Russ Warner, who lost to Dreier by 17 points last cycle, nonprofit founder Renea Wickman and community college trustee Rita Ramirez-Dean.
“As Mayor, I have a proven track record of working with others to get things done, and I want to take that common sense problem-solving approach to Congress for the people of the 31st district,” Aguilar said.