SACRAMENTO — In a complete turnaround, Assemblywoman Doris Allen announced Tuesday that she intends to run this year for state Senate in the 32nd District in northern and central Orange County.
The two-term Cypress Republican, who five weeks ago said she definitely was not interested in the seat that Sen. Edward R. Royce (R-Anaheim) is expected to abandon to run for Congress, said Tuesday that supporters had persuaded her to change her mind.
Allen, 49, said she believes she is the strongest possible Republican candidate in the Senate district, "barring (Assemblyman) Ross Johnson (R-La Habra) getting into the race."
With Democrats only one vote short of a two-thirds majority in the state Senate after the decision of San Francisco Sen. Milton Marks last week to become a Democrat, Allen said the Orange County Senate seat is "more important than ever."
After Allen backed out of the contest in early December, former Westminster Mayor Kathy Buchoz sought endorsements for the Republican nomination for Royce's seat, and last week community college trustee Chris Loumakis announced that he was a candidate.
First Elected in '82
Other Republicans who have been mentioned as potential candidates include U.S. Commerce Department Undersecretary Bill Dohr, former county Republican Chairwoman Lois Lundberg, Fullerton City Councilman Chris Norby, congressional aide Raoul Silva, attorney Steve Knoblock and party activist Grant Ostepek.
Allen, first elected in 1982 after two unsuccessful tries, said her plans to run for the state Senate are "now definite" unless U.S. Rep. William E. Dannemeyer (R-Fullerton) decides not to run for U.S. Senate and Royce backs away from his plans to seek Dannemeyer's seat.
Early last month, right before Dannemeyer announced his plans, Allen had tried to quell speculation that she would seek higher office by declaring she was firm in her decision to seek reelection.
"You can go to the bank on that," Allen said at the time.
Recalling the statement on Tuesday, Allen quipped, "I guess you could say I'm making a withdrawal" from the bank.
With Allen's change of heart and deadlines not until February and March, others were left in a quandary.
"I guess I wish to talk to Doris and hear it from her personally," Buchoz said. " . . . I still want to make sure it is a firm decision with her. Then I can make my decision."
Uncertain for the last week what Allen would do, Buchoz said she had been asking supporters to endorse her for the Senate or Assembly. Buchoz said Tuesday that if Allen runs for Senate, then a race for Allen's seat "is a serious option."
Registration Favors GOP
Loumakis, trustee for the North Orange County Community College District, said Tuesday that Allen's announcement will cause him to "reassess the situation."
"I'm not certain I will withdraw," Loumakis said. " . . . I am exploring my candidacy with various elements in the party."
Despite 46% Republican registration and a 9,450-voter edge, the Orange County GOP is not taking the 32nd Senate District for granted, and Democrats are not conceding it. The district dips into central Orange County, where voters often have been unpredictable.
The district includes all of Fullerton and Stanton and parts of Anaheim, Brea, Garden Grove, La Habra, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin and Westminster.