Tehachapi Republican Phil Wyman, a former state legislator who unsuccessfully ran last year for state attorney general, is now considering a campaign for the U.S. Senate held by Barbara Boxer, who will retire at the end of her term next year.
The seat is widely expected to be won by a Democrat. Attorney General Kamala Harris has announced she will seek the seat, and other Democrats are considering a run.
Some Republicans are also mulling a run, but they are all considered a longshot because of the state’s current political makeup. Wyman, 69 (he will turn 70 next month), is one of those.
“I think I bring a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge, and if I had a lot of money I think I could win,” he said.
Wyman thinks he could be competitive because he finished third in last June’s seven-person primary election for attorney general. Harris won, Republican Ronald Gold was second and Wyman was third. Under the state’s top-two primary rules, Gold went on to face Harris in the general election. Harris beat Gold by 15-percentage points.
But Wyman thinks his values are more “in step with most of the state” than Harris’, and he could build off his campaign against her last year.
Still, the only winning Republican scenario foreseen by political experts is having a lot of Democrats run who split the vote, and just two strong Republicans. The two Republicans, in turn, finish first and second in the primary and advance to the general election, leaving out a Democrat.
Wyman served in the state Assembly from 1978 to 1992 and then served a short stint in the state Senate, winning a 1993 special election over Fresno Democrat Jim Costa and then losing a rematch to Costa the following year.