Longtime U.S. Congressmember Elton Gallegly, who’s represented parts of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties for the past 25 years, announced Saturday he’s not seeking reelection next November and will instead retire.
Last year’s redistricting would’ve made reelection for Gallegly tough. In the mapping changes, Gallegly’s home was drawn into the same district as Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon, who enjoys a lot of popularity in the GOP. Much of Gallegly’s new district encompasses McKeon’s old district. Gallegly could have chosen to run in another district but decided not to. Included in Saturday’s announcement was a statement from political analyst Arthur Finkelstein, who said that, in his judgment, Gallegly would be the favorite to win in either area if he did run.
“The decision to step aside at this time did not come lightly,” Gallegly said. “But in the end, Janice and I decided now was the right time to begin the next chapter in our lives. We are truly blessed to have our health, our family, and so many, many friends that we look forward to spending more time with.” In 2006, Gallegly announced he was stepping down, but was coaxed back into office by Republican strategists looking to take control of the House of Representatives that year.
Gallegly, who is vice chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee and chair of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement, is perhaps best known for his strong stance on immigration, and for legislation banning the recording of animal abuse on film. He also sponsored legislation piecing together a 100th-anniversary celebration of president Ronald Reagan’s birth.