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Republican Art Moore has advanced to a same-party showdown with Rep. Tom McClintock in the Roseville-based 4th Congressional District.

Moore was outpacing independent Jeffrey Gerlach by about 1,500 votes Friday. He owes the fall challenge to the new top-two election system that allows candidates from the same party to advance to November rematches.

McClintock's campaign acknowledged Moore's top-two status in a memo issued to reporters that carried the tongue-and-cheek title "Moore is Less."

Chris Baker, the general consultant to McClintock, wrote that Tuesday's results, in which the incumbent drew 56 percent of the vote demonstrate Moore is not a serious candidate. Baker notes that Gerlach spent virtually no money, made few campaign appearances and received scant press attention -- "in effect not really running a campaign."

Strategist Rob Stutzman said Moore, a combat veteran, was carrying out his National Guard duties and unavailable to comment.

"We are very gratified and looking to the fall," Stutzman said. "It's clear that even in a low-turnout primary that nearly half the voters went against the incumbent without there even being much of a campaign. We're optimistic about November."

PHOTO: Congressional challenger Art Moore, a Republican taking on Rep. Tom McClintock, talks with folks during a Political Awareness Day at Sierra College in Rocklin on April 30. The Sacramento Bee/Lezlie Sterling



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