Miller Reportedly Contemplating Jump From 31st District To 45th In 2014

(July 5) Congressman Gary Miller, who defied the odds to gain election in the Democratic-leaning 31st Congressional District last year despite his Republican Party affiliation, is reportedly considering seeking reelection to Congress in 2014 in the 45th District.
Members of Congress do not need to live within the geographical boundaries of the district they represent, and merely need to live within the state where the district in which they hold office is located.
Between 2002 and 2012, Miller had represented voters in the 42nd District, encompassing the southwestern corner of San Bernardino County, the northeastern corner of Orange County and the southeastern corner of Los Angeles County, where Republicans held a strong registration advantage. But with the redistricting following the 2010 Census, Miller was left without a district in which to run safely, as Ed Royce, another incumbent Republican, found himself reapportioned into the new 39th District, which commandeered much of Miller’s old 42nd District.
Miller elected to run in the newly formed 31st District, which encompasses part of Rancho Cucamonga, and stretches eastward across San Bernardino County through a large portion of Fontana, Rialto, Colton, San Bernardino and Redlands. Another Republican, Bob Dutton, joined the fray in the 31st District in the 2012 primary, as did four Democrats – Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, Justin Kim, Rita Ramirez-Dean, and Renea Wickman. Despite the eight percent Democratic voter registration advantage in the 31st, simple mathematics hurt the Democrats as their vote was divided four ways, while the Republican vote was split two ways. Dutton and Miller proved to be the two top vote-getters and under California’s open primary arrangement, the November general election came down to a race between Republicans Miller and Dutton. Miller prevailed in that race.
In the lull before the 2014 electoral storm, Democrats appear determined to not allow themselves to be outmaneuvered by the Republicans in the 31st again. They have moved to consolidate their backing behind Aguilar early in an effort to ward off any Democratic challengers who might dilute the Democratic vote next year.  Joe Baca, a Democrat who was a member of Congress from 1999 until he was ousted by another Democrat, Gloria Negrete-McLeod, last year, has indicated he is considering a run against Miller, as has Eloise Gomez Reyes, a longtime Democratic activist. If they make good on their early demonstration of interest and stay in the race, Gomez Reyes and Baca may create a circumstance where Democrats might cancel each other out again in the 31st. But if Democratic Party strategists have their way, Baca and Gomez Reyes will be persuaded to divert their ambition elsewhere for the good of the party and to ensure party unity.
Recently, Republican Representative John Campbell has announced he will retire from Congress and will not run for reelection in the 45th District in 2014.
Reportedly, Miller is among a bevy of Republicans contemplating stepping in to fill the void this will create. The 45th District is a strongly Republican one, where it would be near impossible for a Democrat to prevail. With his status as an incumbent, Miller will be able to garner considerable political and financial support, which gives him a leg up on capturing a victory in the primary, leading to almost inevitable victory in the November general election.
Nevertheless, Miller may have to wade into a crowded field in the 45th. The 45th District is located in Orange County. Others whose ears pricked up at Campbell’s retirement announcement were State Senator Mimi Walters, Assemblyman Don Wagner, Orange County Supervisor Patricia Bates, Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer, Laguna Hills Councilman Andrew Blount, former state senator Dick Ackerman and Irvine Mayor Steven Choi.
Miller gave a coy signal that he was contemplating switching to the 45th District in less than two years. “I thank John for his service to the House and his constituents — many of whom I have previously represented — and wish him and his family all the best,” Miller said in a prepared statement. “In the days and months ahead, I will continue to work to improve the quality of life for my constituents, the Southern California region and the nation.”

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