Sources close to Assemblyman Tom McClintock said Wednesday that he will seek the Republican nomination to oppose veteran Democratic Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson in a newly created congressional district that lumps the western San Fernando Valley and eastern Ventura County.
"He just gave me a courtesy call," said one well-placed Republican source. "He'll be announcing that he is running in the 24th District."
The Thousand Oaks conservative, who has scheduled a news conference today, would not divulge his plans Wednesday. But another source said, "Tom's definitely running for Congress."
Beilenson, the only Democrat running for the seat so far, announced last month that he would run in the new 24th Congressional District, created as part of decennial reapportionment, to avoid a costly primary battle against powerful Rep. Henry Waxman in a new district on Los Angeles' Westside.
The entry of McClintock could mean a sharp ideological battle with Beilenson, a prominent liberal, in the November election.
Five other Republicans have entered the race: Van Nuys businessman Robert Colaco, Calabasas attorney Stephen M. Weiss, Reseda mortuary owner Jon Lorenzen, Calabasas businessman Sang Korman and Beverly Hills international trade consultant Jim Salomon.
Korman and Salomon each have lost two previous races for Congress.
"Tom has a background of being a very, very strong right-winger," Salomon said. "I believe he's very beatable in this district, which I see as moderate."
Republican strategists said McClintock, a prominent figure in Ventura County politics, has a better chance than any other candidate against Beilenson in a general election.
"I think Tom's chances are excellent," said political consultant Rob Wilcox. "He has name recognition. He fits the profile of the district. He's a fiscal conservative."
McClintock is a vocal critic of recent state tax increases backed by Gov. Pete Wilson.
Registration in the district, which includes a swath of affluent bedroom communities, is split almost equally between Republicans and Democrats.
"But the Democrats in this area tend to vote Republican, especially against a liberal Democrat," one Republican strategist said. "Tom's sure to win."
McClintock also considered running in the new 19th State Senate District. But a spokesman for former Assemblywoman Marian La Follette, who announced Wednesday she will seek that seat, said McClintock has endorsed La Follette in the battle for the Republican nomination against Assemblywoman Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley).
Times staff writer Kenneth R. Weiss in Ventura County contributed to this story.