Jason Abbott, Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 – 08:00 p.m.

Is Republican Congressman Jerry Lewis looking to retire?

According to Washington, DC-based website Politico.com, the 17-term member of the House of Representatives from Redlands may indeed be on his way out of Congress.

According to Politico’s research of recently-filed Federal Election Commission (FEC) campaign finance documents, Lewis reports raising just $1,700.00 in the fourth quarter of 2010. Lewis’ paltry fundraising total in the most recently disclosed finance quarter leads them to state that his fundraising “offers a clue” into the veteran congressman’s plans for 2012.

Furthermore, an independent state commission’s approach to Congressional redistricting may also leave Congressman Lewis with a far more competitive district than the gerrymandered configuration he has now. The $1,700 sum of total funds raised does not indicate a candidate with re-election – and a potentially tough one at that – on his mind.

Another factor weighing in the mix is the rejection of the House Republican Conference in selecting Lewis to head the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which Lewis chaired in the early part of the last decade. Lewis loved that committee and his defeat amongst his colleagues to head it again may spoil any desire to remain in that seat beyond 2013.

If Lewis does throw in the towel after a long career in federal service, the question remains: Who will replace him?

Although the district’s boundaries will change, political figures who reside (or have resided in it) in it now include republicans San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry, Assemblyman Paul Cook, Senator Bill Emmerson, former Assemblyman Russ Bogh, and Yucca Valley Mayor Chad Mayes. Republicans in elective office who represent overlapping constituencies include State Senate Republican leader Bob Dutton and Assembly Members Mike Morrell and Tim Donnelly.

Democratic options are considerably thinner.

Still, viable possible exists in Redlands Council members Jon Harrison and Pete Aguilar, San Bernardino education trustee James Ramos. It’s possible San Bernardino city Democrats may also look at the race.