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Candidates lining up for McKeon's Congressional seat if he retires

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Simi Valley) won't say whether he's retiring
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Simi Valley) won't say whether he's retiring
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They’re lining up to replace Congressman Buck McKeon of Simi Valley. But the 75-year-old Republican hasn’t yet said whether he intends to retire.

Fellow Republican and former State Senator Tony Strickland has filed with the Federal Election Commission, indicating his intention to run for the 25th Congressional District seat if McKeon doesn't seek re-election. Strickland ran for Congress last year, but lost to Democrat Julia Brownley in a newly drawn district in Ventura. He was expected to once again challenge the well-funded Brownley, but last week he endorsed another Republican, State Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, to run against her.

Strickland isn’t the only likely challenger should McKeon retire. Republican State Senator Steve Knight says he’ll run if the 12-term Congressman steps down. Knight's campaign insists he’d be the front runner, since he already represents a “large part” of the district in the state legislature.  Knight touts endorsements from L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich and Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy. He’s an 18-year veteran of the L.A. Police Department and the son of a state senator.

McKeon has been mum about whether he plans to retire. Under House rules, he’s likely termed out of his post as head of the powerful Armed Services Committee. This week, McKeon’s chief of staff Alan Tenille told Politico that McKeon would like to see Texas GOP Congressman Mac Thornberry succeed him as chairman.

The 25th Congressional district is 40 percent Republican. In last year’s primary, a trio of GOP candidates – led by McKeon – won 70 percent of the votes.