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State Sen. Bob Dutton to run for Jerry Lewis' U.S. House seat

January 18, 2012 |  8:44 am

State Sen. Bob DuttonRepublican state Sen. Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga announced his candidacy Wednesday for California’s 31st Congressional District in San Bernardino County, where a seat is opening up with the retirement of veteran GOP Rep. Jerry Lewis.

Dutton, a former Rancho Cucamonga city councilman and real estate investor, wasted no time in casting himself as a Washington outsider and taking a thinly veiled shot at his greatest Republican rival, incumbent U.S. Rep. Gary Miller of Diamond Bar.

“Too many Washington, D.C., politicians allow special interest to corrupt their decision making at the expense of solving local problems," Dutton said in a statement announcing his candidacy.

Miller jumped into the race last week, the day Lewis announced his retirement, allowing him to sidestep a battle against fellow Republican Rep. Ed Royce after the two were squeezed into the same recrafted congressional district.

Miller promises to be a formidable opponent, having already socked away more than $1 million in his reelection campaign account as of September.

Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, a Democrat, last week also announced his candidacy for the congressional seat.

Aguilar said Democrats now have the upper hand in the newly crafted district, which is weighed heavily by the region’s fast-growing Latino communities in San Bernardino, Redlands, Rialto and Colton.

Democrats make up 41% of the registered voters in the district, while 37% are Republicans.

Dutton, who was termed out of his California Senate seat, on Wednesday highlighted his anti-tax and pro-business political track record, saying he helped lead fights to reduce state sales taxes and decrease the car tax.

Dutton, 61, also called for an end to partisan bickering in Washington while also castigating "tone-deaf liberal politicians” for refusing to rein in government spending.


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Photo: State Senate Minority Leader Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga), left, talks with Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) last year in Sacramento. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press