Majority Leader John Boehner gets a challenger:
Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., becomes the first rank-and-file House member to announce his intent to challenge the top House Republican in next week’s leadership elections.
“I am embarking on this effort because I think our Party is in trouble,” Lungren wrote in a letter to colleagues Friday afternoon. “If we don’t admit our difficulties and address them aggressively, we not only run the risk of becoming a permanent Congressional Minority but we will do a disservice to our nation.”
Lungren’s bid — coming on the heels of an election where Republicans lost at least 22 House seats — represents a conservative challenge to Boehner, as many in the party advocate a back-to-the-basics approach to rebuilding the party. But most House insiders consider Lungren’s attempt to be a long-shot at best; Boehner retains strong ties to his members despite last week’s losses, and he has been lobbying colleagues heavily to maintain his status.
You read that right–even though Boehner led them to lose around 50 seats in the last two election cycles, the House GOP still loves him.
Though Lungren isn’t the best challenger:
Lungren, 62, narrowly won reelection last week to a third consecutive term representing suburban Sacramento. His father was Richard Nixon’s personal physician, and Lungren previously served 10 years representing Long Beach in the House, from 1979-1989, before becoming California’s attorney general.
Lungren lost the California governor’s race to Democrat Gray Davis in a lopsided 1998 election, in a campaign where Davis portrayed Lungren as out-of-step with Californians on abortion rights, off-shore drilling, and banning assault weapons.
In May, ABC’s Brian Ross reported that Lungren attended a conference of aviation industry lobbyists in Hawaii this past winter, via a loophole in campaign finance laws that allowed him to charge some to his campaign committee $5,000 in first-class airfare and four nights at a posh resort.
The Republican Rebellion, a face-off between bad and worse. I’d hate to be in the GOP right now…