A former mayor of Hesperia and a current member of the Victorville City Council are the fourth and fifth people to formally announce their candidacy for the newly created 8th District congressional seat.
Bill Jensen, a former Hesperia city councilman and current planning commissioner, announced in a High Desert Tea Party's Tea Party News-Advocate email newsletter his intent to run.
Victorville City Councilwoman Angela Valles officially announced her intentions in a press release issued Sunday.
The pair joins former Democratic congressional candidate Jackie Conaway, Victorville Mayor Ryan McEachron and Gregg Imus, former chief of staff to Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, in declaring bids for the seat — though McEachron has said he will only run if the current High Desert congressman, Rep. Jerry Lewis, does not.
Lewis, R-Redlands, has not yet said if he intends to run for the 8th District congressional seat. He could instead choose to run for the 31st District, where he lives, or step down from Congress after 17 terms.
"I'm in no matter what," Valles said Monday. "I will not be the keeper of the status quo. I will stand up for the people. I will fight for them in D.C. ... I came from nothing to where I am today, and I did it without anybody's help, just hard work, and that's what I believe in."
Jensen said he thinks he's the "No. 1 candidate," citing both his experience with the local tea party organization, his work in real estate and his past military experience. The only candidate who might dissuade him is Lewis, should he choose to run in the 8th District rather than the more Democratic-leaning 31st.
"Jerry's obviously a formidable opponent," Jensen said. "How do you run against someone who's got $2 million in his war chest?"
San Bernardino County 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt and Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, have both also said they would run for the 8th District if Lewis does not.
Lewis is no stranger to districts changing beneath him, having previously served in the 40th, 35th and 37th districts. His current district, the 41st, had its boundaries redrawn earlier this year.
Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.