James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/06/2010 05:31:13 PM PST

Assemblyman Anthony Adams’ announcement that he will not seek re-election this year has already spurred one more candidate into this year’s election, and political observers said that’s not the only way Adams’ withdrawal could change the dynamic of this year’s elections.

Adams, R-Claremont, who spent the better part of 2009 fighting off a recall drive after a February vote to increase taxes, said Tuesday he will not run for a third term in his 59th District Assembly seat. On Wednesday, Claremont Mayor Corey Calaykay said he will run for the seat – something he said he wouldn’t be doing had Adams decided to stay.

“I had no intention of challenging him,” said Calaykay, also a Republican. “Now it’s something that I’m considering.”

Calaykay is the third Republican to announce a run for Adams’ seat. Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College, said he expects more Republicans to join the fray.

“A lot of Republicans are making a lot of phone calls,” Pitney said. “Without an incumbent in the race, various lower-level office holders are going to test the waters.”

Calaykay is the only elected official who has said he will run. Other Republican candidates who want to represent Adams’ sprawling district – which stretches from Hesperia to west of La Canada – are Ken Hunter, a Lake Arrowhead real estate broker, and Michael Rogers, a San Dimas high school teacher.

A fourth Republican, La Verne resident Christopher Lancaster – who sought the seat in 2006 and lost to Adams in the primary – said he is seriously considering another run. Lancaster works in advertising at the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, which, along with this newspaper, is part of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Former state lawmaker Dick Mountjoy had said he would run against Adams in a recall election. The recall drive failed and Mountjoy said he will not run this year.

Rogers and Hunter are pinning their campaigns on lowering taxes and cutting state government spending – issues that nearly cost Adams his seat.

Allen Hoffenblum, a political analyst who handicaps California elections, said running a campaign too closely tied to Adams and tax issues could be folly for Republican candidates.

“I don’t think the best way to win the election is to run against Anthony Adams,” he said.

Despite having more registered Republicans than Democrats, a majority of 59th District voters chose President Barack Obama in 2008, showing that the district has moderate tendencies, Hoffenblum said.

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