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Former Congressman Pombo may seek Radanovich's seat

Pictured is former Congressman Richard Pombo in this 2000 file photo.
Pictured is former Congressman Richard Pombo in this 2000 file photo. Modesto Bee file photo by Debbie Noda

After Richard Pombo narrowly lost a 2006 re-election bid in the 11th Congressional District to Democrat Jerry McNerney, he went back to work on his Tracy cattle ranch.

Now, the 48-year-old Republican is thinking about a return to Congress — in George Radanovich's 19th Congressional District.

"I started getting phone calls last night," Pombo said today. "Obviously, I haven't made my mind up on it at all, but it is something that I am considering."

Already, former Fresno Mayor Jim Patterson and state Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Atwater, have said they will seek to replace Radanovich, and Fresno City Council Member Larry Westerlund has been calling potential supporters about a run.

But the addition of Pombo would add a whole new dimension to the race. He was a seven-term lawmaker in Washington D.C. who rose to become chairman of the House Resources Committee, which writes environmental laws.

Earlier this year, Fresno County agricultural interests frustrated with Radanovich contacted Pombo about running. Pombo said he declined at the time because he did not want to challenge a sitting Republican.

But with Radanovich's announcement Tuesday that he will retire after this term, Pombo said he is now seriously considering a run for the seat.

"I don't miss the politics," Pombo said. "I miss the policy side of it. Obviously California needs some help."

Pombo said he expects to make a decision within in the next week.

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