McKeon challenger refuels retirement speculation

A Republican has filed to run in Rep. Buck McKeon's (R-Calif.) district, the latest sign that some expect the House Armed Services Committee chairman to retire after this term in Congress.

ADVERTISEMENT
Former California state Sen. Tony Strickland (R), who lost a hotly contested open-seat race to Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) last year, has filed the paperwork with the Federal Election Commission.

A Strickland campaign aide said the state senator would only run for Congress if McKeon retired, ruling out both a bid against McKeon or another run against Brownley.

"Tony is not challenging Chairman McKeon — he has the utmost respect for him," said the Strickland spokesman. "But if the chairman chooses to retire Tony plans to run in the 25th District."

There have been rumors for months that McKeon, who's served 20 years in Congress, is looking at retirement.

His longtime chief of staff retired late last year and the lawmaker will be 76 years old by the end of his current term.

A number of California Republicans have said to keep an eye on whether or not he runs again.

McKeon's office says he isn't focused on whether or not he'll run again.

"At this time nothing has changed in our camp.  Congressman McKeon hasn't made any decisions about 2014- His concern right now is the [National Defense Authorization Act]," McKeon spokeswoman Alissa McCurley says.

This post was updated at 1 p.m.