California: Radanovich Could Face GOP Primary Trouble

Posted March 2, 2009 at 6:30pm

A prominent Central Valley businessman is looking to oust Rep. George Radanovich (R) and may be recruiting a state Assemblyman to challenge the eight-term Congressman in the GOP primary, according to a recent article in the Fresno Bee.

The newspaper reported that Bob Smittcamp, owner of a Fresno frozen foods company who was a donor to Radanovich as recently as 2003, is trying to find another Republican to challenge the incumbent.

“I am looking for someone to run against George who is more attuned to the problems we have here in the valley, because in my opinion he ignores them,— Smittcamp told the Bee.

Smittcamp sent a letter to about 500 of his allies outlining his dissatisfaction with Radanovich, the newspaper reported, and attention is focusing on Assemblyman Mike Villines (R) as a possible primary challenger. Villines said he was too busy with the massive state budget deficit to discuss his political plans.

In an interview with the Bee, Radanovich said a “small group— of people are disenchanted with him because they disagree with his stance on a river restoration plan.

“Bob is a fine, upstanding member of this community,— he said. “I have very much enjoyed his support, and I regret this— latest development.

Berman Backs Cedillo in Solis Special Election

Rep. Howard Berman (D) became the latest House Member to take sides in the special Congressional election to replace now-Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, announcing Monday that he is endorsing state Sen. Gil Cedillo (D) in the contest.

“Gil Cedillo is the type of strong advocate that working and middle class families need in Washington, D.C.,— Berman said in a statement.

Berman joins California Reps. Xavier Becerra, Dennis Cardoza, Grace Napolitano, Lucille Roybal-Allard and Linda Sánchez, as well as ex-Rep. Esteban Torres, in Cedillo’s corner.

Berman represents a district that is becoming increasingly Latino, so his decision to come out for Cedillo makes sense from a geopolitical standpoint.

The other leading Democratic candidate in the special election is state Board of Equalization Chairwoman Judy Chu. Her supporters include California Reps. Anna Eshoo, Jane Harman, Doris Matsui, Adam Schiff, Brad Sherman, Jackie Speier, Mike Thompson and Lynn Woolsey, along with Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).

Investment banker Emanuel Pleitez (D) is also running in the special election.

No date had been set for the special election by press time Monday, but it is widely assumed that it will be held on May 19, the same day voters will be going to the polls statewide to consider several budget questions.