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All is not quiet on the Republican front when it comes to the race over California’s newly drawn 52nd congressional district. We reported on Saturday that Democrat Lori Saldaña, while receiving a majority of votes at her party’s caucus, fell one vote short of exceeding the 60 percent threshold needed to secure an official party endorsement.

Republicans, however, have voted to endorse 50th District incumbent Brian Bilbray as their candidate to challenge for the seat. The old 50th District encompasses a large portion of the new 52nd.

This doesn’t sit well, however, with Republican challenger John Stahl, who, in an email obtained by the Reader, accuses the party of “’circling the wagons’ around weak incumbents.” Stahl accuses the party of making a “sham endorsement” of Bilbray and says he was not given adequate opportunity to address Republican voters, claiming that Bilbray failed to honor his request for a debate.

“Brian Bilbray is a wonderful fellow, but if a junior college dropout, with no private sector or military service is considered to be the only candidate who can represent the 52nd district, the Republican party and the USA are in serious jeopardy,” continues Stahl.

Tony Krvaric, chairman of the San Diego County Republican Party, responded to the Reader’s request for comment on the party’s stance of not officially recognizing other candidates in a race where they’ve made an endorsement. Such policy prevents Stahl from having a campaign table present or from distributing literature at official party events.

“Obviously, once we've endorsed a candidate, we'll doing everything we can to get that person elected. Promoting other candidates would obviously be at cross purposes with the will of the committee.”

Bilbray was among a slate of six incumbents endorsed for reelection on January 9, including representatives Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter, as well as assembly member Brian Jones and county supervisors Greg Cox and Dianne Jacob.

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