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Portantino07-08-headshot.JPGDemocratic Assemblyman Anthony Portantino's 2012 U.S. House bid is already drawing the interest of congressional Democrats.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel, a New York state congressman, is coming to California this weekend to raise funds for the La Cañada Flintridge Democrat. Tickets to a Saturday morning breakfast at the Pacific Palisades home of environmentalist Joe Edmiston range from $75 to $2,500.

Portantino, who will be termed out of the Assembly in 2012, plans to challenge GOP Rep. David Dreier, of San Dimas, in what is now the 26th Congressional District. He kicked off his campaign in late February with a fundraiser at the Sacramento home of Jay Hansen, chief strategy officer for the California Medical Association.

Republicans have a five percentage point registration edge in the district, which includesLos Angeles County's San Gabriel Valley and western San Bernardino County, though the lines and demographic makeup will change under this year's redistricting process.

An e-mail invite sent by Portantino's campaign calls the California assemblyman "DCCC's #1 California recruit."

Portantino isn't the only Assembly Democrat filling campaign coffers for a congressional run. Assemblyman Jared Huffman reported raising $120,000 for his federal campaign account in the first quarter of 2011. The San Rafael Democrat, who will also be termed out in 2012, plans to seek what is now the 6th Congressional District if Democratic Rep. Lynn Woolsey decides to retire. Woolsey, 73, is expected to make a decision by June.

PHOTO CREDIT: Assemblyman Anthony Portantino. Associated Press File Photo.


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