Wyland drops out of race for Congress, eyes state Senate run instead

Assemblyman Mark Wyland announced Tuesday he will run for the Senate seat currently held by Bill Morrow, foregoing a chance to run against Morrow for Congress. Morrow is one of four Republican candidates running in the seat being vacated by Randy “Duke” Cunningham.

The other candidates running for Cunningham’s seat in the 50th Congressional District include former Congressman Brian Bilbray, former Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian and businessman Alan Uke.

Wyland was considered a strong contender, if not the front-runner, for the Congressional seat. He is not expected to face any serious opposition for the Senate seat.

“Mark thinks he can get more done right now in California.,” said Wyland’s chief of staff Duane Dichiara. “California needs reform, and he’s been a voice for reform, and wants to see that through.”

Last month, Wyland’s campaign sent out a strange press release announcing the Assemblyman was “preparing” to run for Cunningham’s congressional seat. The release did point out that Wyland was “unannounced,” but said he was depositing $250,000 into a congressional campaign account.

While most insiders in Sacramento suspected Wyland would ultimately enter the Congressional fray, he remained on the fence as people further down on the political food chain awaited his decision.

Among the losers after Wyland’s decision are Assemblyman George Plescia, who would have run for the Senate if Wyland had run for Congress. Cunningham’s former staffer, Nathan Fletcher, husband of Schwarzenegger Deputy Chief of Staff Mindy Fletcher, would have run for Plescia’s Assembly seat, but now Plescia will run for reelection.

The 50th Congressional District is safe Republican territory. Republicans outnumber Demcorats 45-30 in this San Diego area district that includes northern San Diego, San Marcos, Carlsbad and Del Mar.

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