"If I don't run,'' he says, "(Bilbray) is going to for sure lose.'' Roach says that unless he is running June 6, disgruntled conservatives will stay home. And Democratic turnout will be higher on June 6 than it was on April 11 because of the hotly contested primary to pick the Democrats' gubernatorial nominee against Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Roach says that when Busby's campaign and liberal bloggers concluded that she could not get more than 50 percent on April 11, they urged Democrats to cast some votes for Bilbray because they thought he would be easier to beat than Roach on June 6. Roach says Bilbray could lose to Busby on June 6 -- and if he, Roach, does not run, Bilbray will win the Republican nomination that day, a prelude to Bilbray's losing to Busby again in November.
Bilbray, who says Busby would have preferred running against Roach's sharply contrasting conservatism, is serene. He has long been hawkish against illegal immigration, which is the issue here. A surfer who grew up within sight of the Mexican border, he says he rescued illegals when they were drowning, pulled from the surf the bodies of some who had drowned, and saw the bodies of an elderly brother and sister who were killed dashing across a freeway in one of the illegals' so-called "banzai charges.''
In 1997, Bilbray sponsored a bill to deny citizenship at birth to children born in America to parents who are neither citizens nor legal residents. Busby supports the McCain-Kennedy bill which would lead to legalizing the perhaps 12 million illegals in the country, and that, Bilbray says, "would create a whole new bubble'' of immigration -- 30 million relatives of the 12 million.
He says a local joke is that before the April 11 vote, his campaign "didn't spend any money on TV and radio because we spent all our money buying Mexican flags.'' He is referring to the flags that were so prevalent at recent rallies by immigrants that they enraged and, Bilbray hopes, energized voters he needs.
As for Roach, Bilbray says "the male ego is a fragile thing -- as any woman can tell you.'' He expects Roach to recede, once the sting of the April 11 loss subsides. Roach is visiting Washington this week, measuring conservatives' support for continuing his campaign.