L.A.'s Rocky to take on rematch for AG's office?

Legal News Line Jan. 23, 2009, 11:58am

Rocky Delgadillo (D)

LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) - If Rocky Balboa can make another comeback at 50 years old, surely an embattled city attorney facing a federal investigation who was crushed in his first attempt to become California's Attorney General in 2006 can try again in 2010. Right?

Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, 48, apparently thinks so.

Delgadillo has taken the first steps to launching a campaign for the attorney general race in 2010 by filing papers with the secretary of state to begin campaign fundraising. Delgadillo cannot seek re-election to his current post because of term limits.

Delgadillo's spokesman, Stephen Kaufman told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that the city attorney is "exploring the possibility of continuing his work in the law enforcement arena at the state level."

Delgadillo challenged Attorney General Jerry Brown in the Democratic primary in 2006. Brown soundly defeated him 63 percent to 37 percent of the vote, before going on to win the general election.

But Brown has informally stated his intention to run for governor in 2010, leaving a long line of Democrats eager to replace him, including San Francisco City Attorney Kamala Harris, former state Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla and Assemblyman Ted Lieu.

All three have announced their intention to run once Brown officially becomes a candidate to replace Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will be termed out of office.

Delgadillo is a Harvard grad who has proven to be resilient in the face of obstacles to his political career. Two years ago he admitted his wife had a suspended driver's license when she was in an accident while driving a city-owned vehicle. He repaid the city when the accident became public.

Last August, Delgadillo's troubles mounted when news reports said he and his wife were being investigated by federal authorities, specifically about his wife's consulting business and whether she paid taxes on her income.

Delgadillo, who raised more than $5 million for his failed 2006 campaign, is a skilled fundraiser who has won his share of political victories during his two terms in office, including financial damages against gangs and lawsuits filed in conjunction with the attorney general's office.

Unlike in 2006, Delgadillo would not likely face an opponent with the statewide name value of Brown, who served two terms as governor in the state and three times ran for U.S. president. But Delgadillo will face a crowded field with candidates from all parts of the state.

Lieu, like Delgadillo a southern Californian, is an Air Force reserve officer and would have a strong base in the state's Chinese-American population. Harris is a rising star in the Democratic Party who is very close to President Barack Obama. Like Delgadillo, she has a large metropolitan base. But she could end up being the only woman in the race.

From business circles, Chris Kelly, the chief privacy officer for Facebook, is reportedly interested in joining the race.

Other potential candidates include two soon-to-be-termed out state assemblymen, Pedro Nava of Santa Barbara and Alberto Torrico of Newark. Torrico is Assembly Speaker Karen Bass' top lieutenant in the Assembly as majority leader.

Republicans state Sen. Tom Harman of Huntington Beach and former state Sen. Chuck Poochigian of Fresno, who lost to Brown three years ago in the general election, have also filed papers with the secretary of state.

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