California congressional shake-up: Rep. Wally Herger will retire
Veteran U.S. Rep. Wally Herger (R-Chico) plans to retire from Congress, further shaking up California’s congressional delegation and adding to one of the most competitive House elections in the state in decades.
Herger becomes the latest in a wave of retirements in the wake of a new redistricting plan. And there could be more as Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands), dean of the state’s Republican congressional delegation, mulls whether to run for reelection in a new district or to retire at age 77. The new political map was drawn for the first time by a citizens commission rather than politicians.
The 66-year-old Herger, a senior member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, plans to announce his retirement at a news conference Tuesday in Chico.
“I have been blessed with the privilege of serving my community, district, state and country for 35 years and being part of some of the most important events in our nation’s history,” according to his statement. “That privilege came with many sacrifices, the foremost of which was all the time spent away from my family and my home here in Northern California. I want to focus on my family and enjoy spending time with my grandchildren before they grow up.”
Herger was elected to the state Assembly in 1980 and to Congress in 1986.
His announcement comes days after fellow Republican Rep. Elton Gallegly of Simi Valley declared that he would retire when his term ends. Democrats Lynn Woolsey of Petaluma and Dennis Cardoza of Atwater also are retiring and Rep. Bob Filner, another Democrat, is running for San Diego mayor.
Herger plans to endorse Republican state Sen. Doug LaMalfa to succeed him.
-- Richard Simon in Washington, D.C.
Photo: U.S. Rep. Wally Herger (R-Chico), left, speaks with John Swope of Air Cover Integrated Solutions and the media during a November news conference. Credit: Andreas Fuhrmann / Record Searchlight/Associated Press