LONG BEACH — President Clinton will be the featured guest at a fund-raising luncheon for Gerrie Schipske, a Democratic nurse practitioner and attorney who is challenging a popular Republican incumbent in the Long Beach-based 38th Congressional District.
The president's appearance on Schipske's behalf, scheduled for Oct. 16, is the strongest signal yet that Democrats intend to mount a strong effort to unseat Rep. Steve Horn of Long Beach.
The seat is one of about four dozen around the country that could help determine which party controls the House of Representatives next year.
Democrats outnumber Republicans 51% to 31% in the district, which includes Downey, Bellflower, Paramount, Lakewood and San Pedro. But Horn, a politically moderate former president of Cal State Long Beach with strong community ties, first won the seat in an upset in 1992 and has been reelected ever since.
Democratic House leaders backed another candidate in the four-way primary battle but said they have since been impressed with Schipske's campaign and are increasingly optimistic about her prospects for defeating Horn on Nov. 7.