Even as candidates come and go in the 50th CD special election, the race is starting to take definite shape. By most accounts, there are 5 major candidates at this time. In no particular order, Howard Kaloogian, Alan Uke, Richard Earnest, Bill Morrow, and Brian Bilbray.
Here is one person's opinion on how the race is shaping up.
Kaloogian is the conservative with the most money. He has the vast majority of movement conservative endorsements and has the ability to raise a decent amount of cash. He should be the favorite in the race based on the ideological breakdown of the candidates except for one thing - Bill Morrow. Most of my fellow conservative activists would prefer Bill Morrow as our candidate. But there have been doubts from the beginning as to whether he could raise the money to be competitive. But now it looks like he has been able to raise enough at least to be competitive - with Kaloogian. There will probably be a split in the conservative vote which can only help the others in race.
Alan Uke took off out of the gate faster than anyone. He is reportedly going to spend $2 million of his own money on the race. Uke has an impeccable business and community involvement background (most recently bringing USS Midway to San Diego as a museum). And he certainly is willing to give it all he has, financially and otherwise, to win. Not to mention he has Jim Nygren, probably the best GOP consultant in the state working for him.
Uke has the reputation as somewhat of a moderate, but insiders I talk to say with the exception of the abortion issue, he's as conservative as they come. Until a few weeks ago, another big money moderate, Ken King, claimed he was in the race and willing to spend a few million also. His abrupt departure was a tremendous boost to Uke and at this point makes him the frontrunner.
Richard Earnest is a former high tech CEO, mostly untainted by the tech bust of years past. But he is an unknown outside of his tiny city of Del Mar (where he was mayor) and has a most un-Republican love of taxes. It doesn't appear he is willing to spend the money to be competitive with Uke.
Which brings us to former Congressman Brian Bilbray. I admit to having a soft spot for Bilbray. He's aggressively anti-illegal immigration and says what he feels - even if it sometimes does get him into trouble. Against better political judgment, he voted to impeach Bill Clinton which probably lost him reelection in 2000. But he also has a troubling history of flip-flopping on major issues (guns being the biggest) when it was politically convenient. He certainly carries the most baggage of any candidate in the race.
There is talk of V. Eric Roach, a pioneer in the online trading industry, deciding to make a serious run. If that happens the dynamics of the race can radically change overnight. But for now, advantage Uke.