Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who is leading a U.S. Congressional delegation to the Russian Federation speaks during a news conference in U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, June 2, 2013. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican who led the six-person delegation this week, said at a press conference Sunday that there was “nothing specific” that could have helped April’s bombings, but that the U.S. and Russia needed to work more closely on joint security threats. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa, lashed out at former county GOP chief Scott Baugh for raising money to campaign for his congressional seat, expressing concern Friday that his longtime friend would run against him. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP File)

By Martin Wisckol
April 15, 2016
Updated April 16, 2016 – 3:20 p.m.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has lashed out at former county GOP chief Scott Baugh for raising money to campaign for his congressional seat, expressing concern Friday that his longtime friend would run against him.

The Register reported Friday that Baugh said he is preparing for the Costa Mesa congressman’s eventual retirement, which he believes will be in 2018. Asked about the possibility of running against Rohrbacher if the lawmaker opts to seek re-election at that time, Baugh told the paper, “I’m not going to engage in speculation.”

That led the incumbent to post a statement Friday afternoon on Facebook making it clear he planned to seek re-election in 2018.

“I am disappointed to hear that Scott Baugh has been raising money for a 2018 campaign against me,” Rohrabacher’s statement said. “Scott Baugh represented to me and many of my supporters/donors that he would never run against me and was only raising money for when I retire. Baugh now seems to be evolving out of that commitment.

“I hope that he would return contributions from those who were assured it would never be used in a race against me.”

Baugh, a Huntington Beach resident, could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon or evening.

Baugh supporter Dick Ackerman, who had read Baugh’s comment in the Register, said he believed the brouhaha was a misunderstanding and was confident that Baugh would not challenge Rohrabacher.

“I was surprised by Dana’s announcement because I thought it was clear to everyone that Scott’s not going to run against him,” said Ackerman, a former state Senate leader from Irvine.

Ackerman said he communicated with Baugh on Friday morning about the Register story and that Baugh expressed no concerns with the piece. Ackerman, who is also a friend and supporter of Rohrabacher, said he has no plans to ask for the return of his contributions to Baugh.

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