Monday, Oct. 23, 2006 | At the very least, Brain Bilbray has impeccable timing.
In June 2005 – just 11 days after former Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s tainted real estate dealings made headlines – Bilbray registered to vote from his mother’s address in the 50th District in northern San Diego.
Bilbray, a lifelong Imperial Beach resident and a former Republican congressman from the district immediately south of Cunningham’s, said he actually moved to Carlsbad a few weeks earlier to take care of his ailing mother. Bilbray said he registered to vote from her address long before anyone could have foreseen Cunningham’s demise – despite the fact that FBI and grand jury investigations into Cunningham’s activities were ongoing.
Whether it was coincidence or carpetbagging, the opportunity created by Cunningham’s resignation breathed new life into Bilbray’s stalled political career.
Earlier this year, Bilbray, who’s spent a quarter century as an elected official in local and federal government, emerged from a field of 18 Republicans to beat Democrat Francine Busby and claim the seat for the six months remaining in Cunningham’s term.
Today, Bilbray, 55, is once again an incumbent and facing Busby again in the Nov. 7 election. If Bilbray, considered to be the frontrunner, wins, he’ll solidify a new foothold in the heavily Republican district. It wouldn’t be a bad second act for a professional and perpetual politician who, despite small town roots and no college diploma, has parlayed his image as an environmentally conscious, moderate Republican into a lifetime of political successes.