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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | EAST COUNTY / THOUSAND OAKS

Hoffman Again Seeks a Campaign Director

June 26, 1998|HUGO MARTIN

Just weeks after winning his congressional primary race, Thousand Oaks Republican Randy Hoffman is looking for a new campaign director--his fifth in the past two years.

Hoffman's most recent campaign director, Todd Blair, who headed the campaign's day-to-day operations since February, recently left the candidate's team.

Hoffman now faces Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Woodland Hills) in November. Sherman's 24th Congressional District includes the Conejo Valley and portions of the western San Fernando Valley.

Blair and Hoffman's campaign consultant, Jim Nygren, say there is nothing to be read into Blair's departure so soon after the primary victory.

"The fact that I left the campaign was planned," Blair said. "I had discussed this ahead of time." Blair had been a campaign advisor for six years, working previously on Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan's successful reelection campaign.

Nygren echoed Blair's comments, saying, "We had talked about reviewing things about three weeks before the primary, about him moving along."

But observers and Sherman supporters suspect Blair was fired due to what they call disappointing results in the primary.

Facing two poorly funded Republican opponents, Hoffman spent about $183,000 and received 23,949 votes, or 21% of the overall vote. He got 53% of the Republican vote. In contrast, Sherman, who ran with a Democratic opponent, spent $176,000 in the same period but received 62,103 votes, or 54% of the vote.

Parke Skelton, Sherman's campaign consultant, says Hoffman was so disappointed with the results that he fired Blair in hopes of improving his chances in November. "Generally speaking, if you do well in the primary you keep your team," he said.

Joe Giardeillo, who resigned as Hoffman's campaign director last year to work on another campaign, said he was not surprised that Hoffman is looking for his fifth campaign director.

"If there is any problem, it's that Randy expects too much," he said.

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