Republican activist and former candidate Douglas McNea died late last night after collapsing at a party held by U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel, according to Sutter General Hospital spokeswoman Nancy Turner.
The 64-year-old San Jose resident won the Republican nomination for the 16th Congressional District of California in 2002 and 2004 but lost both times to U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose. He had turned 64 a week ago.
McNea had also run for the 24th Assembly District in 2006, 2008 and 2010 but lost to Democrat James Beall, of San Jose.
According to a biography on Vote-Ca.org, McNea was a nuclear industry scientist and a U.S. Navy veteran. He was married and had four grown children and eight grandchildren.
According to colleague Shane Patrick Connolly, McNea had collapsed on the dance floor at the McCarthy party Saturday night held during the California Republican Party's convention. Paramedics rushing McNea out of the hotel were pounding on his chest, eyewitnesses said.
Turner said McNea was declared dead at 11:56 p.m. Saturday after suffering a heart attack.
McNea was the chairman of the Silicon Valley Taxpayers' Association, Connolly said, and had been active on issues such as limiting eminent domain powers of government.
"He thought it was very important that people treat the money in Sacramento and Washington like they would treat their own money," Connolly said.
A description of McNea on the website for a 2005 initiative push to limit eminent domain read:
Doug McNea is President of Silicon Valley Taxpayers' Association, a CRR board member, father of four, Vietnam Veteran, surfer, scientist, and an active member of the California Republican Party as a Nominee for Congress in 2002 and 2004. Doug is a "take it to the streets" activist who is passionate about our personal rights and freedoms. He marched to City Hall to stop the eminent domain takeover of the Tropicana Shopping Center by the San Jose Redevelopment Agency. The ethnically diverse and family-owned local businesses at the Tropicana were threatened by eminent domain for the benefit of a proposed new upscale corporate mall. He has traveled to Sacramento as a citizen witness in support of legislation to defend our property rights. He is a candidate for the 24th Assembly District.
UPDATE: McCarthy press secretary Erica Elliott issued this statement on McNea's death: "Congressman McCarthy was deeply saddened to hear that Doug had passed away. He is grateful to those who acted quickly to try and aid a good friend of many in attendance. Doug will be missed by all and his long-standing commitment to his country and his work to protect taxpayers will not be forgotten. We'll continue to keep his family in our thoughts and prayers."