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Democrat May Get Local, But Not National Party Endorsement in 52nd Congressional Race

The race to see if a Democrat can unseat Congressional Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray in the newly redrawn 52nd District is being closely watched. The seat is one of several nationwide that could help return the House to a Democratic majority.

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi said she wants to win 25 seats in the House for the Democrats this year. She and California State Democratic Party Chair John Burton spoke to reporters during the convention.

However, Pelosi was reluctant to pick favorites in San Diego’s 52nd Congressional race. Former state Assemblywoman Lori Saldana and Scott Peters, former San Diego City Council president and Port of San Diego chair, are running to defeat Bilbray.

“There is a very important race here in San Diego,” Pelosi said, “but it is a primary. We see great opportunity here. We have two excellent candidates running for one of the seats and we’re eager to see how it turns out…we’ll see how it turns out at the convention. “

Candidates must win 60 percent of the votes from party delegates living in their district to win an endorsement from the State Democratic Party.

John Burton said delegates vote on endorsements at their convention on Saturday and the results will be released Sunday.

“The Bilbray seat is very important for us to pick up,” Burton said, “and then it’s a question of which Democratic nominees get that. That’s going to be up to the people of that area. But as far as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee goes, they have to make a judgment, but I believe they’re not going to put money into a race between two Democrats.”

Burton said it will be up to members of the state and county parties to raise money for Democrats vying to defeat Brian Bilbray.

Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee has decided to pour money into defending Bilbray’s seat.

Pelosi said special interest money will make a big difference to this year’s races. She defended the president’s decision to accept Super PAC money.

“But that doesn’t mean that we like this system,” Pelosi said, “The president has to do that or he might as well say Republicans’ special interests own the country. But having said that, we have to amass the resources to win the election and rid the system of these PACS and all of this big special interest money that is coming in secretly. “

She commended California for having better laws than the federal government on disclosure requirements for special interest money.

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