2006 California's 4th congressional district election
The California's 4th congressional district election, 2006 was an election for the United States House of Representatives. The two major party candidates were longtime incumbent John Doolittle (R) and challenger Charles Brown (D). Doolittle retained his seat with 104,307 votes (49%) compared to Brown with 97,022 votes (46%). Libertarian Dan Warren got 5% of the vote.
In the Republican primary on June 6, 2006, Doolittle was challenged for his party's nomination by Mike Holmes, the mayor of Auburn. Citing Doolittle's score of -4 on its scorecard, Republicans for Environmental Protection endorsed Holmes. Doolittle raised more than $1.1 million in campaign contributions, more than 14 times that of Holmes, as of the last reporting deadline before the election. Doolittle won the primary with 67% of the vote. Doolittle’s tally in the GOP primary was a decline in both real numbers and margin of victory, however, compared to previous years and represented less than 42% of the overall votes cast in all parties' primaries for the 4th-district seat.
Charles D. "Charlie" Brown (born 1949) is a retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel. Brown graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1972 and served 26 years on active duty in the Air Force, primarily as a pilot, first flying helicopters during the Vietnam War, and then fixed-wing aircraft. He holds a master's degree in aviation management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a California teaching credential. Brown was elected to two terms on the Supervisory Committee of the Sierra Central Credit Union and two terms as vice president of the Roseville Police Association. He worked for eight years on the professional staff of the Roseville Police Department after retiring from the Air Force.
A social moderate, Brown identified his other top priorities as: protecting Social Security; keeping American jobs at home; stopping out-of-control deficit spending; strengthening national security while bringing the war in Iraq to a quick and secure resolution; supporting strong, safe schools; ensuring clean water and air; and making good healthcare accessible to everyone.
General election campaign
Brown defined his number-one issue as "the Constitution, including the Second Amendment" and questioned whether the Republican leaders in the George W. Bush administration and the 109th Congress genuinely believed in individual liberties in light of policies allowing spying without a warrant on American citizens; or in small government given huge and ineffective bureaucracies; or in fiscal responsibility having run up huge deficits. He characterized the incumbent, John Doolittle, as being among extremists who had taken over the party and allowed corporations to binge on federal contracts in the midst of a war while underfunding the Veterans Administration and neglecting the needs of middle-class families.
With Doolittle involved in an ongoing federal investigation into congressional corruption, including ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and defense contractor Brent R. Wilkes, an unindicted co-conspirator, Brown emphasized the need for ethical representation in Congress. Promising transparency in government service if elected, he pledged to publicly disclose anyone whom he would have met with to discuss legislation, including lobbyists.
On Oct 21, 2006 Republicans for Charlie Brown asked the Doolittle campaign to "cease deceptive automated phone calls to voters that are initially represented as if they are coming from the Brown campaign--before going on to smear Brown." Republicans for Charlie Brown founder Joanne Neft cited "the $3,000 fine Doolittle received in 1984 for sending out fraudulent campaign mailers during a State Senate Campaign." Neft added, "John Doolittle has practiced dirty campaign tricks from the beginning. He can't run on his record of corruption and ineffectiveness, so he tries to trick people into thinking his opponent is calling them with gibberish and lies. These shameful tactics only serve to highlight his moral unfitness for office."
In late October, Monte Schulz, the son of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, objected to the use of fonts, colors schemes, and other elements of his father's cartoons in mailings attacking Brown and said that he believed such mailers infringed on the cartoon's copyrights. (The mailers did not use Peanuts' characters.) Schulz sent copies of the mailers to the two companies who owned the trademarks and had editorial and art control, which sent them on to lawyers for further review. A spokesman for the Doolittle campaign said that the mailers came from the National Republican Congressional Committee, which by law does not coordinate with the Doolittle campaign.
On November 3, The Washington Post reported, "two little-known nonprofit groups paid for Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.) and his 12-year-old daughter to travel to South Korea and Malaysia." These trips included a stop at "the Berjaya Beach & Spa Resort on the Malaysian island of Langkawi, where they bunked at an oceanfront chalet staffed with a personal butler, got massages and rode water scooters on Burau Bay." The trip cost $29,400 and was paid for by two groups that "were fronts for vigorous lobbying campaigns bankrolled by foreign entities and were operated by a Washington lobbying firm, Alexander Strategy Group, according to public records and people who worked with the firm." These "two nonprofits and the lobbying firm behind them have drawn the attention of the FBI."
Doolittle raised $216,000 during the second quarter of 2006, for a total of $1.2 million for the campaign. He had spent just over $1 million and had $261,000 cash on-hand at the end of the period. Brown raised $109,000 during the period, for a total of $254,000 during the campaign. He had spent $179,000 and has about $70,000 cash on-hand. Brown took in about $200,000 in campaign contributions in July and August. 
On July 17, 2006, Doolittle agreed to engage in debates at a later date. At the last moment Doolittle decided not to participate in a debate that was to be held in Nevada County. The single remaining debate was held on October 11, 2006.
Polls and ratings
Although the 4th District of California was generally considered a safe seat for Republicans, a Benenson Strategy Group poll in late August found Doolittle just slightly ahead, 41% to 39%, with 17% undecided. By the end of September, the race was considered even.
In early October CQPolitics.com to change its rating on the race to "Republican Favored" from "Safe Republican". Both campaigns began airing their first ads of the general election shortly thereafter.
A USA Survey poll on November 3, 2006, found that Doolittle was leading 50% to 43%.
|Republican||John Doolittle (incumbent)||135,818||49.05|
|Prec. Rep.||36 / 36||150 / 150||35 / 35||20 / 20||101 / 101||365 / 365||29 / 29||27 / 27||23 / 23|
|John Doolittle||5380 / 54.79%||25650 / 50.40%||4546 / 59.89%||2174 / 59.4%||12840 / 40.68%||44469 / 48.80%||4161 / 50.71%||4255 / 54.52%||832 / 53.3%|
|Charlie Brown||3830 / 39.00%||22582 / 44.38%||2544 / 33.52%||1230 / 33.5%||17026 / 53.94%||42387 / 46.52%||3645 / 44.42%||3174 / 40.67%||604 / 38.6%|
|Dan Warren||605 / 6.16%||2590 / 5.09%||479 / 6.31%||262 / 7.1%||1649 / 5.22%||4153 / 4.56%||393 / 4.79%||371 / 4.75%||127 / 8.1%|
|Write-Ins||5 / .05%||67 / .13%||21 / .28%||48 / .15%||116 / .13%||6 / .07%||4 / .05%|
After the election
Brown announced in February 2007 that he would run again in 2008. Brown outraised Doolittle in the first and second quarters of 2007; as of June 30, he had a net cash balance of $251,000; Doolittle had a negative balance of $32,000. After much speculation, on January 10, 2008, John Doolittle announced he would finish his current term, and not run for re-election. In the 2008 general election, Brown ran against and lost to then-California State Senator Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks).
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