Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands

BY BEN GOAD
WASHINGTON BUREAU
bgoad@pe.com

Published: 09 January 2012 09:29 PM

WASHINGTON — The field of Democratic candidates for California’s new 31st Congressional District is quickly solidifying, but potential GOP candidates appear to be awaiting a decision from incumbent Rep. Jerry Lewis before entering what is certain to be a high-profile race for the seat.

Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, a Democrat, confirmed in recent days that he is exploring a run for the seat, which includes Redlands, San Bernardino, Rialto and surrounding communities. He would join businessman Russ Warner and non-profit founder Renea Wickman on the Democratic side of the ticket.

While there’s plenty of rumor and speculation on the Republican side, no candidates have formally declared intentions to run. Lewis, R-Redlands, the most senior of California’s House Republicans, could seek election to the seat, which likely would keep other would-be candidates out of the race. Lewis has until March to announce his intentions.

San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos, a Republican who describes Lewis as a mentor, has expressed interest in the seat but said he would stand down if Lewis wants another term. The seat also is seen as a potential place to land for either Rep. Gary Miller, R-Diamond Bar, or Rep. David Dreier, R-San Dimas. The state panel created to establish new political lines over the summer drew both Miller and Dreier into tough spots.

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