Conlon sets himself apart in race for Congress seat

Greg Conlon admits he would have little chance to defeat longtime politician Jackie Speier in a normal election. But the low expected turnout and short time frame leading up to April 8’s special primary has Conlon believing his Republican Party can steal the election.

The Atherton businessman and accountant said he is desperately trying to contact each Republican and “decline to state” voter in the district in hopes of controlling the election through a high Republican turnout. It will not be an enviable task — of 255,000 voters in the district, Democrats outnumber Republicans two-to-one.

Conlon claims he received 31,000 votes in the San Mateo County and San Francisco district formerlyrepresented by Tom Lantos when Conlon lost to Phil Angelides for state treasurer in 2002.

“If less than 60,000 people turn out to vote, there’s a chance I could steal it,” Conlon said. “I’m knocking on the doors to get the Republicans out. It’s a long shot, but that’s the game plan.”

Conlon said he separates himself from Speier, a Democrat, and the three other challengers vying to fill the remainder of Lantos’ seat, which expires Jan. 3.

Conlon wants to “leave Iraq with honor” — as opposed to his opponents’ views that the government should pull out troops immediately.

He also thinks he can help balance the national budget without increasing taxes. If unable to, he said he would follow Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lead and try to make cuts across the board.

He also holds strong views on immigration, saying he would try to build an electronic or physical wall on the Mexican border. He said he would then augment the wall by developing the economy within 100 miles of the border so Mexicans would not have as strong an urge to cross into the Untied States, he said.

“My positions are exactly opposite from Jackie and the other candidates,” Conlon said.

The 74-year-old has been endorsed by former California Gov. Pete Wilson and nine present and former Republican state and U.S. Congress members and said he has also raised between $30,000 and $40,000, including a $10,000 loan from himself.

Like the other three candidates taking on Speier, however, Conlon has never been elected to public office. He was appointed commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission in the ’90s, with two years as president. He also served three years on the California Transportation Commission.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

Greg Conlon

Age: 74

Location: Atherton

Party: Republican

Occupation: Businessman/accountant

Experience: Ran unsuccessfully for state treasurer in 2002

Compares himself to: Sen. John McCain

Three biggest issues:

» Leaving Iraq with honor

» Balancing budget without increasing taxes

» Building electronic or physical wall on Mexican border

Would run for seat again? Yes

Web site: www.gregconlonforcongress.com

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