News & Election Videos

June 01, 2009

Bono Mack staying out of the spotlight

Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif) is facing a potentially competitive re-election bid against Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet. But the Southern California Republican has apparently decided early on that she doesn’t have any desire to engage her Democratic opponent.

Last week, the Palm Springs Desert Sun began publishing answers to policy questionnaires it submitted to Bono Mack and Pougnet. The paper kicked off the effort asking the candidates a few basic questions: why they were running for Congress and what should be done with the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention center.

The only hitch: Bono Mack refused to participate, “saying she was focused on her Congressional duties and didn’t have time to provide responses at this time,” according to the paper.

A Bono Mack spokeswoman did not return a request from POLITICO for comment.

It’s a somewhat surprising move for Bono Mack, who enters her sixth full term in the House with a target on her back. Bono Mack’s district, like many other Republican-held seats across the state, is trending Democratic. Barack Obama defeated John McCain 52 percent to 47 percent in November, and the Republican registration edge in her district has decreased from 11 percent in 2002 to just 4 percent in 2009.

National Democrats have touted Pougnet as a potentially strong challenger to Bono Mack, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has slammed the Republican for her vote against the stimulus package earlier this year.

-- Alex Isenstadt