By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
A little-known fact about the 27th is that Rogan does not even enjoy the monolithic support of district Republicans. Some of this has to do with his impeachment histrionics: According to a spokesman from his campaign, Rogan has cited to them an internal poll that showed 75 percent of his district disapproved of the hearings and trial. And many in the local GOP, like Sardar, discovered Rogan to be balky when it has come to taking the initiative on local interests. In one of the more contentious of these issues, the proposed Oakmont View V housing tract, Republican homeowners found Rogan indifferent to their opposition to the development of one of Glendale’s few remaining wilderness tracts. Here Schiff pulled the rug out from under the congressman by helping to secure state funding in the Assembly for purchase of the Verdugo Mountains property from developer Lee Gregg.
But according to Mike Smith, a lifelong Republican and the founding director of the conservationist group Glendale-Crescenta VOICE, dissatisfaction with Rogan among district Republicans isn‘t confined to a few homeowners and environmentalists within the party. ”The disappointment with Jim Rogan,“ says Smith, who worked for Rogan’s first House campaign in 1996, ”is that he forgot the district as soon as he got to Washington. He wasn‘t interested in local issues because he was already thinking about the presidency. But now he’s finding out that the district has learned it can do without Jim Rogan.“
Although Rogan, perhaps displaying a nothing-to-lose-now bravado, has recently been flaunting his impeachment role, his early ads firmly set the campaign‘s direction toward the political center. His handlers emphasized Rogan’s willingness to buck popular expectations of what positions a GOP candidate would take on certain issues by backing a few gun-control measures, some version of HMO reform, and opposing the 710 freeway extension. Impeachment rancor? That‘s something that existed in the last century. Clinton bashing? The Constitution made Rogan do it. He’s even resorted to that time-tested defense against negative publicity, using children as human shields. ”If you asked Congressman Jim Rogan to pinpoint a defining moment,“ his re-election Web site wistfully quotes a puff piece from a local newspaper, ”there‘s no doubt he would say when his twin daughters came into his life. The former gang-murder prosecutor is the first to admit he has turned sentimental since becoming a parent.“
to date, the 40-year-old Schiff (whom Rogan defeated for an Assembly seat in 1994) has raised a startling $2,896,442 and spent nearly half of it. But the GOP and the far right have not abandoned Rogan to twist in the wind. Far from it: According to the latest figures on record (filed June 30) his re-election campaign has easily out-fund-raised ($4,601,722) and out-spent ($3,569,785) Schiff. (Rogan’s next-door GOP neighbor, David Dreier, has only needed to raise $479,604 to beat back his Democratic challenger, Janice Nelson.)
Both candidates‘ money arrives through the traditional pipelines, with the Republican getting most of his non-party PAC money from agribusiness (i.e., big tobacco) and telecoms (Verizon is his largest single donor), along with real estate, insurance and finance interests. Not surprisingly, Schiff’s biggest sugar daddy is organized labor, which has kicked in $252,700 for his war chest. He also benefits from the largesse of Hollywood liberals, having received substantial sums from DreamWorks SKG and such individual celebrities and execs as Michael Douglas, David Geffen, Sherry Lansing, Rob Reiner, Richard Dreyfuss, Ed Begley Jr., Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Don Henley.
Rogan‘s A-list is decidedly short: Oliver Stone and Jim Belushi. And the $93,625 he’s pulled in from Disney, the Motion Picture Association of America and other corporate-entertainment backers comes more from pragmatism than passion, the kind of protection money one expects any local industry to pony up for its district‘s incumbent congressman. What is unusual about Rogan’s donors, corporate and individual, are their return addresses: More than 32 percent of them reside outside of California, compared with 13.6 percent for Schiff and 19 percent for Dreier. (Three-term Ohio Congressman Steve Chabot, who, as a fellow impeachment manager, may be the House candidate whose campaign comes closest to resembling Rogan‘s, has garnered 19 percent of his nearly $1 million campaign fund from out-of-state contributions.)
The non-Californian provenance of Rogan’s contributors underscores the proxy-war nature of his campaign, and these backers, from the Conservative Victory Fund to Live Free or Die, and that veritable ATM of Tory candidates, the Outback Steakhouse‘s PAC, form a printout of right-wingers who, in their mellowest moments, view Clinton’s two terms as eight years of treason, espionage and witchcraft. (A huge percentage of both candidates‘ donors falls under the ”IdeologicalSingle-Issue“ heading -- in fact, Schiff actually leads Rogan in this category.)
The Democrats can almost taste those six GOP seats that would give them a numerical House majority. (Although they would still need to pick up about 20 more districts to overcome the Liebercrat defections that typically plague the party during roll-call votes.) The Republicans, meanwhile, continue to wire money to Rogan and a core of other besieged candidates, praying that six brave white men can stanch the Gore tide.
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