GOP green group backs Pombo rival

Republicans for Environmental Protection has endorsed former Rep. Pete McCloskey (R-Calif.) for the GOP nomination in California’s 11th Congressional District instead of the Republican incumbent, Rep. Richard Pombo.

In a statement, the organization endorsed McCloskey, co-author of the 1973 Endangered Species Act, because he “has a distinguished record of working to safeguard the environment and supporting traditional Republican values.”

The organization did not support Pombo, who, according to the organization, has “worked to dismantle landmark environmental laws.”

McCloskey served in Congress from December 1967 until January 1983 and unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination for president in 1972. He broke ranks to support Democratic Sen. John Kerry for president in 2004.

Retired businessman Tom Benigno is also challenging Pombo in the Republican primary. Democrats Steve Filson and Jerry McNerney are battling to face the winner of the Republican primary.