In an email to supporters this morning (Thursday, May 30), DeMaio made official his candidacy in the 2014 race for the 52nd Congressional District.
“Like you, I am concerned about the condition and course of government at all levels and the troubled state of our economy,” wrote DeMaio. “Like you, I’m not willing to let our country, state or cities fall further into disrepair without fighting to fix the problems.
“That’s why I have decided to run for Congress – and I’d like you to be part of our campaign to offer bold reform ideas in an inclusive and fresh way,” added DeMaio in his emailed announcement.
In an apparent reference to his unsuccessful bid for San Diego mayor last year, DeMaio began his email with a quote from Winston Churchill, who said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
After his failed mayoral campaign and having to leave the city council, as his term was up, DeMaio announced in January that he had been named chairman of the California Reform Council. A Los Angeles-based project of the Reason Foundation, the council is focused on balancing the state budget without raising taxes.
DeMaio also said at the time that he would launch Reform San Diego, a research and political advocacy group whose main priority is the city’s finances.
For months it had been speculated that DeMaio would run for the House seat, currently held by freshman Congressman Scott Peters (D-San Diego), also a former San Diego City Councilman. Peters is expected to seek re-election.
The chatter about a challenge by DeMaio had increased in recent weeks after polling showed DeMaio has a good chance of winning the race. Though local Democrats called the poll results ” a sham” and expressed confidence in Peters’ re-election chances.
Due to redistricting, the seat covering San Diego’s coastal areas and the coastal-inland North County is considered a tossup. Last fall former Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-Solana Beach) came close to beating Peters; a match-up between DeMaio and Peters is expected to also be a horse race.
Should he win, DeMaio would be the second openly LGBT person to win a congressional seat in California. Last fall Democrat Mark Takano, a gay Japanese-American, became the first out member of the Golden State’s congressional delegation when he won the 41st Congressional District based in Riverside.
As an out GOPer, DeMaio would be the first gay Republican non-incumbent to win a House seat.