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Whittier Daily News: "3 Dems vie to run against Miller"

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Location: Whittier, CA


Whittier Daily News: "3 Dems vie to run against Miller"

Two years ago, Democrats in the 42nd Congressional District didn't have a challenger against Rep. Gary Miller.

This year, three Democrats, two from Orange County and a third from Montebello, are seeking the right in Tuesday's primary to run against Miller, R-Diamond Bar.

All of them say - despite a 48 percent to 30 percent registration edge for Republicans - they can beat Miller.

"It is a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats," said Ed Chau, a Montebello school board member.

Chau, 50, an attorney, is running against Ron Shepston, 61, an avionics engineer from Silverado, and Michael Williamson, 49, a police sergeant from Mission Viejo, for the right to meet Miller in the November general election.

"However this year, many decline-to-state (voters) and some Republicans are leaning toward voting Democrat," Chau said. "Things are changing and demographics are changing. People are beginning to see Democrat ideas are good."

But Sylvia Southerland, chairman of the 58th Assembly District Republican Central Committee, said Miller seat is safe.

"I applaud their enthusiasm, but it's unrealistic," Southerland said. "The numbers are not there. Gary is a very popular sitting congressman. How can you beat an incumbent, Republican or Democrat?"

The biggest issue - other than who is best able to meet Miller - might be Chau's residency.

He lives in Montebello outside the district. Federal law only requires that a candidate live in the same state, not the actual district.

Williamson has placed a Web ad on You Tube attacking Chau for not living in the district.

And while Shepston said he isn't bringing up the issue, he doesn't think that Chau's residency looks good.

"It's an issue registering with voters," he said. "Republicans will tear him up on that."

Chau said he doesn't think where he lives is a big deal.

"Voters are more concerned about the issues," he said. "As a member of Congress I will be making policy that will impact the entire country. These are federal issues that impact everyone. I only live a few miles from the district. It's not that important."

There appear to be few differences on issues between Chau and Shepston. Both also have spent about $54,000.

Williamson, who hasn't filed a campaign finance report because he hasn't reached the $5,000 limit, seems to be the more conservative candidate.

"I fall between the two," he said, referring to the two parties. "I'm more like a Joe Lieberman or Zell Miller."

Chau and Shepston said they are for universal health care and oppose the war in Iraq.

Instead, their debate is over experience.

"I approach problems not from a partisan point of view, but how do we solve them," Shepston said.

"I'm a person who builds coalitions to understand a common goal," he said. "I'm pretty good at talking to people and their issues."


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