Miller Wangles State GOP Endorsement In 31st District Race

Though the San Bernardino County Republican Central Committee steered clear of showing any preference, the California Republican Party has endorsed incumbent Congressman Gary Miller (R-Diamond Bar) over State Senator Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga) in their respective efforts to capture the GOP nomination in the race for Congress in the newly redrawn California 31st Congressional District.
The California Republican Party at a convention in Burbank on March 11 made a host of endorsements of GOP members seeking state and congressional offices. Prior to that meeting, state Republican party officials asked local party officials for their recommendations but the San Bernardino County GOP Central Committee declined to endorse either Miller or Dutton.
The race should prove an interesting one. Dutton is the scion of the Dutton Family. His father, Ted, is a wealthy speculator, landowner and developer. Ted Dutton has bankrolled much of his son’s political career, which consisted of two terms on the Rancho Cucamonga City Council, two years in the California Assembly and seven years to date in the California Senate, the last two as Republican leader,
Miller has served as congressman in California’s 42nd Congressional District for nine years and was congressman in the 41st Congressional District for four years previous to that. Miller has relied less upon personal or family wealth but has a political war chest approaching a million dollars in addition to having ready access to the check writing capability of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
In the 31st Congressional District, Miller finds himself somewhat afield from his established constituency. The current 42nd Congressional District which Miller represents is a Republican bastion which encompasses all or portions of Chino, Chino Hills, Rowland Heights, La Habra, Brea, Yorba Linda, and Diamond Bar. The 31st District covers all or portions of Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Rialto, Loma Linda, Grand Terrace, Colton, Muscoy, Ontario and San Bernardino, major portions of which Dutton has represented.
It now appears to be a footrace between the better financed Miller and Dutton, who has greater familiarity with the 31st District’s communities, for the nomination.
Miller declared his candidacy in the 31st following an official announcement from Representative Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, that he will retire after 17 terms in Congress. Mr. Lewis, is the congressman from the current 41st District, a portion of which has been folded into the new 31st District.
Miller does not live in the new 31st District as does Dutton. Miller will not need to relocate into the new 31st Congressional District to run there. Many voters will be surprised to learn that unlike city, county, and state requirements for elected officials as well as federal requirements for senators and the presidency, there is no requirement that members of Congress reside in the district each represents.
According to the U.S. Constitution, a member of Congress must be at least 25 years old, a citizen of the United States for at least seven years, and an inhabitant of the state from which he or she is elected.
In Article I, section 2 the Constitution states: “No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.”
Congressional as well as state legislative districts are redrawn every 10 years following the U.S. census. California requires residency in legislative districts, but, like all states, cannot mandate the same of congressional candidates since the federal constitution trumps any state efforts.
Miller throughout his Congressional career has enjoyed the comfort and advantage of running in districts where the Republicans held a decided voter registration advantage over Democrats. That is not the case in the 31st, which leans slightly in favor of Democrats.
While the GOP predominates in Rancho Cucamonga and Grand Terrace and holds a marginal lead in Redlands and Loma Linda, the cities of Rialto, Colton, Muscoy, Ontario and San Bernardino are Democratic strongholds
Both Miller and Dutton believe they can win in November because of the Republican tendency for greater voter turnout and their relatively superior fundraising capability compared to the Democrats. Nevertheless, a no-holds-barred campaign against each other in the primary campaign could deplete the reservoir of funding the winner will have to run against the prevailing Democrat in November. Among Democrats, Redlands mayor Pete Aguilar and Renea Wickman are declared candidates for their party’s nomination in the 31st Congressional District.

Leave a Reply