Hans Keirstead’s claim that Democratic leaders want him to chair the House Science, Space and Technology Committee made its way back to Capitol Hill, caught the attention of insiders and was refuted by Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer’s office.
Keirstead, a pioneering stem-cell biologist with extensive experience in the health-care industry, is one of eight Democrats challenging Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. The first-time candidate emphasizes his science background to contrast himself with Rohrabacher, vice chairman of the Science Committee.
Among many differences is their views of climate change – Keirstead supports the argument that man is the primary cause of climate change while Rohrabacher does not believe man contributes significantly.
“If you want to replace this embarrassment with a representative who make (sic) policy based on FACTS, support our campaign today!” reads a Keirstead Jan. 5 post on Facebook.
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That was the same day Roll Call, the Washington insider news site, reported on Keirstead’s claim. The candidate was speaking to the Democratic Club of Seal Beach in November and discussing conversations he’d had with Democratic members of Congress, including Hoyer.
“I have been honored, I have been just humbled by the fact that they want me to chair the Science Committee,” Keirstead said at the meeting, a video of which is on YouTube.
“So in a meeting that I had with Steny Hoyer, he said, ‘We would like to put you as chairman of the Science Committee, rejigger that thing, get it, get it working and get it up to scruff. But that’s not going to do you any favors in the short term. I’d also like to give you an early appointment onto Appropriations.’”
Roll Call noted that seniority plays a key role in the selection of chairmanships. The news site pointed out that there are 16 Democrats on the committee, who would all be senior to Keirstead. Additionally, Democrats would have to gain a majority in the House before they would control who becomes committee chairmen.
Roll Call asked Hoyer’s office about Keirstead’s claims.
“No, neither of those statements is remotely true,” Hoyer spokeswoman Katie Grant said in a statement to Roll Call. “The idea that Mr. Hoyer would promise a candidate either a chairmanship or a seat on Appropriations is preposterous.”
Keirstead’s spokesman Kyle Quinn-Quesada acknowledged the “miscommunication” and didn’t dispute the Roll Call account. Quinn-Quesada told Roll Call that Keirstead was simply encouraged to pursue appointments to key committees and reiterated that point in an email to the Register.
“While encouraging Hans to run for office, Whip Hoyer and Hans discussed committee appointments and where Hans could have the most impact in Congress,” Quinn-Quesada said in his email. “After 30 years of Congressman Rohrabacher’s ineffectiveness representing this community, Hans is dedicated to being effective for Orange County on day one. He is aware that committee appointments are not made to candidates and has been open with the community to clear up the miscommunication.”
The past week’s retirement announcements of Rep. Ed Royce, R-Yorba Linda, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, triggered a fresh parade of election entries.
As of Friday, Republican candidates in Royce’s district were accountant John Cullum, former state Senate GOP Leader Bob Huff, former Assemblywoman Young Kim, Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson and La Mirada Councilman Andrew Sarega. Also jumping in was Democrat Jay Chen, a member of the Mt. San Antonio College Board of Trustees. Chen ran against Royce in 2012 and lost by 15.6 percentage points. The race now features seven Democrats, five Republicans and two independents.
The Republican entries in Issa’s district were Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey and attorney John Schoonover, who had been preparing a bid against Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Lakeside, but changed districts after Issa’s announcement. Besides the three Republicans, there are four Democrats running.
The Buzz is the Register’s weekly political news column.
Source: Oc Register