Capitol Alert

GOP lines up to take on California Reps. Peters, Ruiz

Democratic Rep. Scott Peters campaigns at a town hall meeting with senior citizens in San Diego.
Democratic Rep. Scott Peters campaigns at a town hall meeting with senior citizens in San Diego. AP

Three months after being elected to their second terms, a pair of California Democratic congressmen are already hearing footsteps.

Reps. Scott Peters of San Diego and Raul Ruiz of Palm Desert, both viewed as top targets for the national GOP, may face unusually early challenges.

Republican Jacquie Atkinson, who is openly gay and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, is considering a run against Peters. Lupe Ramos Watson, a businesswoman and the mayor of Indio, may take on Ruiz, consultant Tommy Knepper said Thursday.

“As a Marine Corps combat veteran, I am very concerned about the direction of our country,” Atkinson said in a prepared statement. “That is why I’m taking the time to seriously listen and consider the opinions of leaders in my community. I will be making my decision in the next few weeks.”

Peters said though a spokeswoman that he’s focused on his congressional duties.

“It’s only February and voters are still fatigued from the last go-round,” MaryAnne Pintar said. “The congressman is focused on doing his job and when it’s time to campaign again, regardless of the challenger, we’ll be ready.”

Peters and Ruiz have been in the crosshairs of Republicans since unseating former GOP Reps. Brian Bilbray and Mary Bono in 2012.

Last fall, Peters won a close race over former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio while Ruiz dispatched then-Assemblyman Brian Nestande. Watson is a former Nestande staffer.

Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago.

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