Oller considers Assembly seat | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Oller considers Assembly seat

William Ferchland

Although the race is two years away, California State Sen. Rico Oller held a $1,000 per plate fund-raiser Thursday in Sacramento for a hopeful return to his former assembly seat held by Tim Leslie.

Oller, R-San Andreas, narrowly lost a Congressional bid to former California Attorney General Dan Lungren in March’s primary.

Since he will be out of office this year, the 46-year-old is eyeing a return to the Assembly where he has one two-year term left after serving from 1996 to 2000.

The fourth Assembly district is held by Leslie, R-Tahoe City, who will be forced out by term limits in 2006 if he wins re-election in November. Leslie has hinted at running for lieutenant governor at that time.

The fourth district covers segments of portions of El Dorado, Alpine, Placer and Sacramento counties.

Bill Bird, Oller’s spokesman, said the state senator already has opposition from Placer County Supervisor Ted Gaines who secured several endorsements, including Leslie’s, soon after Oller lost the Congressional race.

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The news made Wednesday’s Capitol Morning Report, a newsletter for state politicians.

The two potential opponents know each other well and have backed each other in past races.

“But now these two have both staked claims to this setting up of a Republican battle royale,” Bird said.

Oller has formed a committee for the Assembly seat and Thursday’s fund-raiser at Sacramento’s Esquire Grill is the first for the 2006 campaign. In the Congressional race, Oller raised $1.3 million for his campaign, Bird said.

“Nobody raises money like Rico Oller. Nobody,” Bird said. “He’s fiercesome, he’s ferocious, he’s good, he knows what he’s doing.”

Bird said Oller will use his vacation from politics to spend time with family and to focus on his construction company, Material Ventures, Inc., where he is chairman.

Gaines, who could not be reached for comment, lives in Roseville with his wife and six children. He has been a Placer County supervisor since January 2001 and served on Roseville’s Planning Commission for two years beginning in 1997.

His term as county supervisor ends in 2005.

– E-mail William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com