Politics, government and public life for Southern California

A second GOP challenger for Ventura County Democrat's Congressional seat

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Freshman Democrat Julia Brownley of Ventura has raised nearly a million dollars for her re-election campaign. It's looking like she'll need every penny. 

A second GOP candidate has thrown his hat into the ring. Real estate broker Rafael Dagnesses says he's "not a career politician" and not affected by the "dynamics of Washington." Dagnesses is a Cuban emigre who served with the Marines and was a narcotics cop with the L.A. Police Department.

Dagnesses, 48, joins another Republican, Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, who jumped into the race last week. Gorell is another military veteran, having served with the Navy in Afghanistan two years ago. He also touts law enforcement on his résumé as a former deputy district attorney.

Democrats have already begun attacking Gorell. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out an e-mail blast accusing him of attending a "junket at Maui Resort just days before launching Congressional campaign." The event was hosted by the Independent Voter Project, which put California’s Proposition 14, the “Open Primary Initiative," on the ballot.

The 26th Congressional district is split almost right down the middle between Republicans and Democrats — each claiming 40% of registered voters. Independents make up the other 20%. Brownley beat former state Senator Tony Strickland, a Republican, by six percentage points last fall. 


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