Saturday, February 22, 2014 – 10:30 a.m.

The primary campaign to replace retiring Congressman Gary Miller (R-Rancho Cucamoga) has turned somewhat interesting in recent weeks.

The original field of four democrats and one republican incumbent, has morphed into four democrats and three republicans, with no incumbent.

The Democrat Field: Attorney Eloise Gomez Reyes, Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, Former Congressman Joe Baca and School Board Trustee Danny Tillman

The Republican Field: Congressional Aide Lesli Gooch, San Bernardino Councilman John Valdivia and Anti-Drug Activist Paul Chabot.

On the Democratic side, Aguilar is the party candidate. But, he’s a poor campaigner. Two years ago, he let two GOP primary candidates edge him out of a runoff. It was a major embarassment for Aguilar. Reyes is the true Dark Horse here. She has the financial backing of Emily’s List, a political force in electing women to Congress. Reyes also just picked up the backing of Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles), who has broken ranks with the party in this race. Baca has raised some, just some, money. But his family name identification, within the district core, will draw some votes.

Of the Republican candidates, Gooch raised $100,000 in 72-hours. She’s going to draw some establishment backing, with the help of Miller and others. Chabot has some name identification with voters. A benefit from a close defeat in a previous State Assembly run. Gooch’s entry will make it difficult for Chabot to raise any serious money. Valdivia is an unknown outside of San Bernardino.

The current four-Democrat field may cause unintended problems.

This open primary will make for an interesting top-two placing.