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Wieder 'Very Interested' in Race for Lungren's Seat

November 26, 1987|CLAUDIA LUTHER | Times Political Writer

Orange County Supervisor Harriett M. Wieder said Wednesday that she is "very interested" in the possibility of running for Daniel E. Lungren's congressional seat if he is confirmed as state treasurer.

Lungren, 41, a Long Beach Republican, was picked Wednesday by Gov. George Deukmejian to succeed Jesse M. Unruh, who died Aug. 4. The nine-year congressman must be confirmed by the state Senate and the Assembly, both of which are controlled by Democrats, when the 1988 legislative session begins in January.

"I'm very interested in taking a look at this," Wieder, a Republican, said from West Palm Beach, Fla., where she and her husband are spending the Thanksgiving holiday. She said that when she returns this weekend she will be talking with people who have encouraged her to run about what kind of financial and other support she might have. Wieder, 67, said she expects to make her decision "well before the year is out."

sh 'What Can I Contribute?' "I'm looking at my own experience: What have I invested? What can I contribute?" she said. "I feel I've got a lot to give."

A member of the Board of Supervisors nine years, Wieder was a Huntington Beach councilwoman and mayor for four years and an aide to Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty in 1963-73. She lives in Huntington Harbour, in Lungren's district. The major portion of the district--the 42nd--is in southeast Los Angeles County.

While she praised Lungren, Wieder said she believed Orange County had been "shortchanged to a certain degree" because the congressman is from Los Angeles County.

Two Republican assemblymen, Dennis Brown of Signal Hill and Gerald N. Felando of San Pedro, said last week that they are interested in running for Lungren's seat if it were open.

In selecting Lungren, Deukmejian passed over three Orange County Republican state senators who wanted the job: Marian Bergeson of Newport Beach, John Seymour of Anaheim and William Campbell of Hacienda Heights.

sh Plans 'Key Role' "I obviously would have liked to be the selection," Bergeson said. "But a good choice was made, and I will work to help him get confirmed."

Although she said it is too early to pick a favorite, Bergeson said she intends to play a "key role" in the election to replace Lungren.

"I overlap a good part of that district," Bergeson said, "and Dan and I share a lot of the same support. I have a very strong interest in seeing who will be their representative."

Seymour said he was not disappointed because he had not really expected to get the job.

"I had said from outset that I was really a dark horse," said Seymour, who was elected to the Senate in 1982.

Seymour said Lungren is "young enough and committed enough to not only serve as treasurer but in essence take over leadership of the Republican Party at such time as George Deukmejian chooses to hang his gloves up."

If confirmed, Lungren would be the only Republican besides Deukmejian to hold statewide office and would be in line to run for the governorship.

sh Predicts Tough Hearing But Seymour predicted that Lungren's confirmation will be a "Bork-like process," referring to the rancorous U.S. Senate confirmation hearings that led to the rejection of President Reagan's nomination of Robert H. Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Both Bergeson and Seymour said they were told of the governor's choice before he announced it at a Wednesday morning press conference in Sacramento. Though neither had talked directly to Deukmejian about the post, they had spoken to the governor's staff and had expressed their interest in the job in letters to Deukmejian.

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