B-1 Bob Dornan Running for Congress

Politics1’s Ron Gunzberger passes on word that “B-1 Bob” Dornan, a longtime Republican iconoclastic congressman from California until being ousted with the help of massive illegal alien voting in 1996, is eyeing another comeback bid.

Dornan Eyes Cox’s Seat in Congress Bid (LAT, July 7)

Former U.S. Rep. Robert K. Dornan, a rabble-rousing Republican and notorious conservative who represented Orange County from 1985 through 1996, is eyeing another run for Congress, despite defeats in 1996, 1998 and 2004.

This time, Dornan, 72, is weighing whether to abandon the GOP and run as a candidate for the American Independent Party. He is hoping to gain a strategic advantage in a bid for the plum coastal congressional seat held by Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach). The seat is expected to open this year with the U.S. Senate’s anticipated confirmation of Cox as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

So far, two other Republicans — state Sen. John Campbell of Irvine and former Assemblywoman Marilyn C. Brewer of Newport Beach — have announced they plan to seek the post.

Running as an independent candidate has appeal, Dornan said Wednesday, because he would not have to change parties to appear on the ballot — as long as at least 40 registered American Independent Party voters signed his nomination papers. All candidates would appear on the same ballot in the special election, with the top vote-getters from each party in a runoff if there is no clear majority.

Campbell and Brewer are too moderate and unreliable on such issues as abortion, said Dornan, who lives in Virginia but is registered to vote in Sunset Beach. “This time, I’m not going to see a safe conservative seat go to someone like Marilyn Brewer,” he said by telephone. He said social liberals, who he predicted would back both Campbell and Brewer, “are a metastasizing cancer on the Republican party to turn us into Democrats.”

American Independent Party officials said they would welcome Dornan into the fold. Such a candidacy would mark Dornan’s final break from the GOP, which turned its back on him last year when he challenged Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) and grabbed only 16.8% of the vote.

Ron notes that AIP is the California branch of the Constitution Party. Yesterday, Ron noted that there is some AIP opposition:

In a Politics1 exclusive, we’ve learned that even the leaders of the Constitution Party do not want bombastic former GOP Congressman Bob Dornan as their nominee in the special election for Congressman Chris Cox’s CD-48 seat. Anti-immigration activist Jim Gilchrist — founder of the high-profile civilian border patrol Minuteman Project — has informed American Independent Party officials (the state affiliate of the Constitution Party) he is interested in being the party’s nominee in the contest. Constitution Party National Chair Jim Clymer sent an email Friday evening to several prominent activists in the party, expressing support for Gilchrist over Dornan. “It is vital [to determine if] Dornan is eligible to switch parties and run on the AIP at this point. Jim Gilchrist of national fame from his border patrol activities is also running and he has been an AIP member for years. I would advise being very careful not to hitch your wagon to Dornan without some sort of commitment that he will STAY CP if elected and ascertaining that he is not just an opportunist because he lost his last couple of elections as a Republican.

Regardless of the circumstances of his 1996 defeat, it’s undeniable that Dornan is far too conservative for California these days, even in a heavily Republican district. Still, he’s a colorful character who’ll make the race interesting if he throws in his hat.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Lt bell says:

    he would invade syria in a bid to gain the presidency
    mad dog dornan is an apt description
    of this war mongering liar

  2. Don Surber says:

    Congress? Heck, run for the Senate