WASHINGTON — Former GOP assemblyman Dean Andal announced Wednesday his candidacy for Congress against Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney in California’s 11th District where Republicans suffered an unexpected upset in November.
GOP leaders are eager to retake the Republican-leaning district that straddles the Central Valley and eastern San Francisco Bay area. The district had been represented by Republican Richard Pombo of Tracy, the powerful chairman of the House Resources Committee before his surprise loss to McNerney, a political neophyte.
Andal, a Stockton resident who also previously served on the Board of Equalization, was the first to formally announce his candidacy against McNerney, but others also are looking at the seat. Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, touted Andal’s candidacy as “a very big recruitment success.”
In his announcement statement, Andal went immediately on the attack, accusing McNerney of voting for “the largest federal tax hike history.”
“This election is about restoring trust in Congress and holding it accountable for its treatment of American taxpayers,” Andal said.
McNerney spokesman Andy Stone dismissed the claim that McNerney voted for a tax hike as “simply not true,” noting that the Democratic budget bill in question simply let President Bush’s tax cuts expire as scheduled.
“We expected this all along,” Stone said of Andal’s announcement. “After all, the Republicans sent out a mailer attacking Congressman McNerney on the very day he was sworn in. Nevertheless, Congressman McNerney is focused on the job he was elected to do: serving the people of the 11th District.”