Leece mulling a run for 48th Congressional District

Costa Mesa councilwoman exploring a race for the seat currently held by longtime U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.

January 18, 2014|By Bradley Zint

Costa Mesa City Councilwoman Wendy Leece confirmed Saturday that she is weighing a run for Congress.

Leece, a Republican, is exploring a race for the 48th Congressional District seat held by longtime U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa).

Leece pulled in-lieu papers with the Orange County Registrar of Voters on Thursday — a preliminary step that doesn't include an official candidate's statement or paying any filing fees. She said she is now gathering voter signatures and acknowledged that if she doesn't gather enough support, she will stop the effort.

"This is an opportunity for me to take the experience and knowledge that I have and work with people of all political parties and political persuasions," Leece said. "I will listen to them in the next few weeks and see if there's support for me to finish the filing."

The 65-year-old Westside resident will be termed out from the council in November after serving two four-year terms. Leece, a substitute teacher, was first elected to the council in 2006 after serving two terms on the Newport-Mesa Unified School District's board and a few years on Costa Mesa's Parks and Recreation Commission.


Leece said she doesn't expect to get the Republican Party's nomination for the 48th district seat, which will likely go to Rohrabacher, who is seeking his 14th term in Washington.

"I know it's an uphill battle," she said. "But it's a new day in politics for all people, independents, in all parties, to solve our nation's problems ... It's gridlock back there, because people don't want to listen to the other side, collaborate and solve the problem."

Within the past few years Leece has often found herself on the dissenting side of the council majority when it comes to many of its major decisions, including a March 2011 proposal that could have laid off nearly half the city's workforce and June's decision to outsource the city jail.

"I've been a voice crying in the wilderness," she said. "Let's take our time. There's no hurry. Let's get our facts before rushing in this decision."

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