Barbara Zaragoza 4:30 p.m., May 25
Nathan Fletcher returns to congressional battleground, endorses Peters against Bilbray
In a round trip of sorts, ex-Republican Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who left the GOP and became a self-proclaimed independent during this spring's San Diego mayoral campaign, has re-entered the realm of congressional politics.
Fletcher, a one-time Republican state operative who once ran the district office of GOP congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham - sentenced to a long stretch in federal prison after copping a plea in a bribery case - has endorsed Democrat Scott Peters in his bid to oust Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray.
Some background from our Fletcher profile in May:
"By December 2001, Fletcher, at the age of 25, was political director for the California Republican Party, charged with recruiting congressional candidates for the upcoming 2002 mid-year elections.
"'What we’re looking for is people to give the Republican perspective on the issues and stand with President Bush,' he told Washington’s The Hill newspaper, which added that Fletcher expected 'to field GOP candidates in every district.'
"Also in 2001, Fletcher was listed as a 'volunteer' for the International Republican Institute, chaired by GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Funded largely by the federal government, the institute, along with its counterpart, the National Democratic Institute, works with the State Department, military, and CIA in seeking to influence foreign outcomes to the advantage of the United States government.
"Besides their foreign policy role, both groups are often employed by their respective party sponsors to groom their most promising candidates for public office. Fletcher’s Assembly biography says he worked for the foundation in East Timor, Cambodia, and Serbia during two missions in 2001 and 2005.
"In November 2002, still the party’s political director, Fletcher was back on the campaign trail with Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon. A reporter for the OC Weekly was with him and another Simon advance man at a rally in Santa Monica when Bob Dylan’s 1966 'Rainy Day Women #12 & 35' came over the loudspeaker.