Los Alamitos Mayor Troy Edgar backed out of the 47th Congressional race in favor of a bid for the newly created 72nd California Assembly District, he announced Tuesday.
The move means that there is no longer an Orange County candidate for the Congressional seat representing Long Beach, Rossmoor and Los Alamitos. It also pits Edgar up against city leaders from Huntington Beach and Westminster for the assembly seat serving parts of Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos, Garden Grove and Santa Ana. Edgar enters the race with the biggest war chest with nearly $500,000 from his Congressional campaign, most of which he loaned to his own campaign, according to the most recent campaign finance statement. Upwards of $80,000 comes from campaign donations.
“I believe California has arrived at a critical moment in its history. We must become a state that allows businesses to thrive and jobs to flourish,” Edgar said in a written statement Tuesday. “I am anxious to take my experience in the business world and local government to Sacramento to become a force for a prosperous future for California.”
Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong, and former U.S. Congressman Steve Kuykenall, both Republicans and Edgar’s one-time rivals in the Congressional race, were quick to support Edgar in his bid for the State Assembly seat.
“I absolutely endorse Troy Edgar for that seat,” DeLong told Patch Tuesday. “I think he will be a great State Assemblyman. He’s a class act.”
Said Kuykendall, a former Marine, of Edgar, former Navy, "I think he'll do fabulously, and though I don't know that race well, to be honest, I think it's a benefit being a veteran, because whether you've been in combat or not, you learn things you don't learn anywhere else. A combination of independence and a stiff backbone you'll need in politics."
DeLong said Edgar’s departure from the Congressional race means he can confidently shift his focus from winning the primary to facing Democrat Alan Lowenthal in the general election. Lowenthal has said the same thing. He could not immediately be reached but has told Patch previously that he feels confident about fundraising given he's the only Democrat announced; he thus doesn't need much money before the November general election.
With Edgar’s departure, DeLong and Kuykendall are the only Republican candidates left in the race with significant funding. According to the most recent campaign filing statements, DeLong has more than $410,000 in his war chest compared to Kuykendall’s $70,00. The two will square off Feb. 16 in a debate sponsored by the Long Beach Republican Party. Despite the funding disparity, Kuykendall recently announced a major endorsement coup from Sen. John McCain.
Kuykendall and Lowenthal have said they aren't particularly worried about the fundraising disparity.
"I've been in six elections, double that if you count the primaries, and I've been outspent in every one of them, and twice won as the first Republican in a Democractic seat," said Kuykendall. Were they victories? He laughed. "Yes. Well except one that I lost to the former Congresswoman Jane Harman, by less than half a percentage point, and I think she might be a billionaire."
Edgar's exit from the race is Kuykendall's gain, he said. "It's good for me in that we reduced the field; it's good for me that we reduced the guy that was the Orange County candidate, so now Orange County's in play."
In launching his state assembly campaign, Edgar announced endorsements from Representative Ed Royce, State Senator Tom Harman, and Assemblyman Jim Silva and city leaders including Los Alamitos Mayor Pro Tem Marilynn Poe and Councilman Ken Stephens, Seal Beach Mayor Pro Tem Gary Miller, and Fountain Valley Councilman Larry Crandall.
In the battle for the state assembly seat. Edgar faces Huntington Beach City Councilman Matthew Harper, Westminster Councilman Tyler Diep, Long Pham, a Little Saigon businessman, and Albert Ayala and Joe Dovinh, neither of whom have filed campaign finance statements. So far, Edgar’s funding outpaces his opponents by more than $400,000.
More details to come.