Poll May Convince McClintock to Seek Doolittle’s Seat

Posted February 15, 2008 at 9:58am

With a new poll out suggesting he would blow away the competition, state Sen. Tom McClintock is seriously considering jumping into the Republican primary in California’s 4th district, a GOP insider based in the Golden State confirmed Thursday evening.

The Moore Information poll, conducted Feb. 11-12, showed McClintock with the support of 43 percent of likely GOP primary voters, compared with just 11 percent for ex-Rep. Doug Ose, 6 percent for former state Sen. Rico Oller and 36 percent undecided. Ose and Oller already have announced their candidacies and begun campaigning.

“I would not say he’s given the green light to go do it. But he’s having conversations with people and giving it serious consideration,” the California GOP insider said. “If you look at the 4th district, Tom would be a natural fit to replace” retiring Rep. John Doolittle (R).

The Moore Information poll, commissioned by McClintock supporters, surveyed 300 likely Republican primary voters and had a margin of error of 6 points.

McClintock also led in the personal favorability category, with 54 percent of the poll’s respondents saying they have a favorable opinion of the state Senator, compared with just 31 percent who said they had a favorable opinion of Ose and 24 percent who felt similarly about Oller.

Police administrator Charlie Brown, who nearly knocked off Doolittle in 2006, is running again for the Democrats.

McClintock leads in the poll despite the fact that his state Senate district lies in Southern California — far from the 4th — and is at least partially encompassed by Rep. Elton Gallegly’s (R) 24th district.

But Ose and Oller aren’t rooted in the suburban Sacramento 4th district either — although Ose retired from the neighboring 3rd district in 2004, and Oller ran for that seat the same year but lost in the GOP primary.

However, McClintock has long been the darling of conservative Republicans throughout California, and the 4th district, which stretches east from the state capital through farmland and the foothills, is considered among the most Republican seats in the country.

McClintock’s statewide name identification and popularity was bolstered in particular during his quixotic gubernatorial bid in the 2003 recall that led to the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). McClintock has run for statewide office more than once, including a failed 2006 bid for lieutenant governor and a losing 2002 bid for state controller.

Based on the state Senate district McClintock has represented since 2000, it would be more logical for him to run for Gallegly’s seat. After nearly retiring in the previous cycle and then changing his mind, Gallegly has been adamant that he will seek re-election in 2008.

But McClintock has been living in Sacramento full time with his wife and kids for quite a while, choosing to do that rather than commute back and forth between the state capital and Southern California.