Feisty Pombo Will Run Again; Greens Vow to Oppose Him

Article excerpt

Byline: Valerie Richardson, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Former Rep. Richard Pombo, the feisty California Republican known for his black cowboy hats and his epic battles with environmentalists, announced Tuesday that he will run again for Congress.

Mr. Pombo, 48, plans to run for the Central Valley seat being vacated by retiring Republican Rep. George Radanovich. The 19th Congressional District is adjacent to the 11th Congressional District, which Mr. Pombo represented for seven terms before he was defeated in the 2006 election.

I've decided to run for the 19th, go back to Washington and get back in the middle of the wars, said Mr. Pombo in a radio interview on The Ray Appleton Show on KMJ-AM in Fresno, where he made his announcement.

Mr. Pombo jumps into a crowded Republican primary field that includes state Sen. Jeff Denham, who's been endorsed by Mr. Radanovich, and former Fresno Mayor Jim Patterson. The seat is viewed as a fairly safe GOP stronghold, with 44 percent registered Republicans, 37 percent Democrats and 14 percent independent voters.

Mr. Radanovich, 54, announced last week he would not seek a ninth term in order to spend more time with his wife, Ethie, who is battling ovarian cancer.

Mr. Pombo, who garnered strong support from property rights activists and Western business interests while in Congress said he decided to run after my phone started ringing in the wake of Mr. Radanovich's announcement.

Asked whether he should defer to a fresher political face, Mr. Pombo said that he would enter Congress as the senior Republican on the House agriculture and natural resources committees, giving the district more clout.

With everything that's happening, I just felt it was time to re-engage, he said. The biggest difference between me and others is that I actually do something.

One potential problem for Mr. Pombo is that he lives about 10 miles outside the district in Tracy, Calif. Under California law, congressional candidates aren't required to live in the districts in which they seek office, although such candidates risk accusations of carpetbagging.

The Denham campaign launched an early shot against Mr. Pombo on Tuesday by questioning his connection to the district. …