October 19, 2011 11:08 AM
Brooke Edwards Staggs
Staff Writer

VICTORVILLE • Mayor Ryan McEachron has formed a campaign finance committee to run for Congress in 2012, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.

McEachron, whose first term on Victorville’s City Council expires in November 2012, is gearing up for a run for the newly formed 8th Congressional District representing the High Desert.

“I’m laying the groundwork and getting myself ready,” McEachron said by phone Wednesday.

Under redistricting lines approved by a citizens commission in August, the High Desert region lost Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon and was grouped into the 8th Congressional District with Inyo and Mono counties, Yucaipa and half of Redlands.

The rest of Redlands — including the address of longtime High Desert Rep. Jerry Lewis — was placed in the new 31st Congressional District, along with San Bernardino, Loma Linda, Grand Terrace, Rancho Cucamonga and southern Upland.

Lewis, R-Redlands, hasn’t formally declared his candidacy for that district. Jim Specht, spokesman for Lewis, said Wednesday that his boss hasn’t made a decision as to whether he’ll run for the slightly Democratic-leaning 31st rather than the largely Republican 8th. However, the move seemed more plausible when Rep. Joe Baca, D-Rialto, announced last month he was running for the redrawn 35th District instead of the 31st.

McEachron, San Bernardino County 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt and Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, have all said they would run for the 8th District only if Lewis does not.

“I’m still supportive of Congressman Lewis and if he decides to run here I would back off,” McEachron said. “But at this point in time I think there’s a lot of reasons to believe he would not do that. …I’m more or less just preparing to run with the assumption that (Lewis) is not going to run in the 8th.”

Victorville Councilwoman Angela Valles has said she may run regardless of what Lewis does.

Gregg Imus, former chief of staff to Tim Donnelly, has also opened a committee with the FEC and declared his interest in running for the 8th District. However, his committee is currently filed under the 41st District, which included the High Desert before the new lines were drawn over the summer.

Jackie Conaway, a Hinkley resident and former Democratic congressional candidate, also declared her bid for the 8th District though records indicate she hasn’t opened a campaign finance committee with the FEC.

If McEachron raises funds though his congressional campaign committee and Lewis does run for the 8th District, the Victorville mayor said he will likely forward those contributions to another candidate or to a deserving charity.

Staff writer Natasha Lindstrom contributed to this report.

Brooke Edwards Staggs may be reached at (760) 955-5358 or at

Get the complete story every day with the “exactly as printed” Daily Press E-edition, only $5 per month! Click here to try it free for 7 days. To subscribe to the Daily Press in print or online, call (760) 241-7755, 1-800-553-2006 or click here.