Dreier tamps down retirement rumors

Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.) says he is planning on running for reelection, seeking to tamp down speculation that he will not seek a 17th term.

The House Rules Committee chairman told The Hill he has every intention of running for reelection, regardless of what happens with redistricting in California. 


Political operatives in California and Washington, D.C., point to Dreier’s lackluster first-quarter fundraising numbers, and his purchase of a home in Malibu as signs that he might retire.

According to campaign finance records, Dreier only raised $14,000 in the first quarter of 2011, though he has $729,000 cash on hand. 

A GOP source familiar with the situation explained that Dreier typically doesn’t raise much money for his own campaign during the first quarter following a general election. The source stressed the first-quarter numbers are not indicative of his intention to run or not. 

In previous corresponding first-quarter filings, Dreier raised $72,275 (2009), $41,756 (2007) and $178,449 (2005). 

And in an interview last week, Dreier said, “I’ve had that home [in Malibu] for a while now.” 

Real estate records show that Dreier purchased the house, which is not in his district, in May of 2010. Dreier is recorded as of the wealthiest members of Congress. 

As for fundraising, Dreier said he spent the past months raising more than $500,000 for the National Republican Congressional Committee. 

The California Republican, who will turn 59 next month, said that his political operation in California is gearing up for the coming election, despite the fact that he could face a GOP or Democratic incumbent in 2012.

With the state’s new redistricting process administered by an independent nonpartisan commission, every incumbent House member faces the prospect of new voters in non-gerrymandered districts.

That commission, created by California’s ballot Proposition 14, spent the past six months traveling the state, in anticipation of releasing the preliminary proposal for new districts this month. A final decision on the map is set for Aug. 15.

Based on a preliminary document, however, incumbents will face new voters in 2012, according to University of California at Berkeley political science professor Bruce Cain. 

“Nobody has their old district, so basically what you are going to have is old faces in new places. I think these people will all run for something, but what they are going to run for is only going to be a fraction of their old seat,” Cain said.

The new map could mean that Dreier might face fellow GOP incumbent Rep. Jerry Lewis or Rep. Gary Miller (R) in a primary, or Democratic Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump backs Stefanik to replace Cheney Gender politics hound GOP in Cheney drama Senate Intel vows to 'get to the bottom' of 'Havana syndrome' attacks MORE

“Any way you look at it, [Dreier is] going to need a lot of money, because whichever seat he’s running in … he’s going to have to introduce himself to new voters,” Cain explained. 

Each one of his potential opponents outraised Dreier in the first quarter of this year. 

As of March 31, Lewis had $628,974 cash on hand, having raised $33,000 in the first quarter, while Miller had $882,488 cash on hand, having raised $65,000 in the first three months of this year.

But, according to Cain and Claremont McKenna political science professor Jack Pitney, most of Dreier’s current 26th congressional district would become part of Schiff’s turf. 

Schiff has more than $1.8 million cash on hand, raising $216,000 in the first quarter.

Schiff’s first House election in 2000, against then-Rep. Jim Rogan (R), was among the most expensive races in history, Pitney pointed out. More than $10 million was spent on that race. 

Dreier has a history of coming up with a lot of money in a short amount of time, Pitney added. 

“He might not have raised a lot of money yet, but he has a record of being a very effective fundraiser. In fact, he actually started off at this college raising money for our college. That was his job, so he’s very, very good at that,” Pitney said. 

Meanwhile, Anthony Portantino, a California Democratic assemblyman who lives in Dreier’s district, has declared he will run for Congress next year. 

Portantino has raised $93,869 this quarter, and has $116,775 cash on hand.

Democrats have targeted Dreier in recent cycles. In 2010, a big year for the GOP, Dreier attracted 54 percent of the vote.