LOS ANGELES (AP) — A tense political drama is unfolding in the Santa Clarita Valley, where the 69-year-old wife of Republican Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon has decided to seek political office herself. Her main rival in the June state Assembly primary is a former staffer to her husband.
Patricia McKeon and Scott Wilk, 53, are facing off for a seat in the reliably Republican 38th District. Also running are Paul Strickland, on the GOP side, and Democrat Edward Headington.
The race is becoming a Republican family feud, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.
A website mocking Patricia McKeon's lack of government experience has been shut down, but it remains a campaign issue. Wilk has denied accusations he was behind the site. McKeon acknowledged seeking the district attorney's help in trying to take the site offline but denied she had suggested a connection to Wilk.
Meanwhile Wilk's wife, Vanessa, dashed off an email saying Rep. McKeon and his staff has "systematically slandered and attacked my husband because he has the audacity to run for an Assembly seat that you would like your wife, Patricia McKeon, to have." Her email, first reported by the Washington newspaper Roll Call, was in response to an internal political strategy memo circulated to McKeon staffers.
Patricia McKeon, a mother of six and grandmother of 31, said she got the idea to run herself after being charged 10 cents per grocery bag at the supermarket.
"It just made me furious," she told the newspaper.
She's positioning herself as a typical suburban mom, who has raised a family and volunteered with the PTA and other community organizations.
When she told her husband she planned to run, he offered his full support. The congressman has contributed the maximum $7,800 from his campaign fund to his wife's campaign and $3,900 from his leadership PAC, the Times said.
Patricia McKeon raised about $180,000 through mid-March for her campaign, including a $40,000 personal loan, the Times said. Wilk raised about $88,000 and accepted a loan from his son for $3,900.