Rep. Rogan faces uncertain future
September 1, 1999
Web posted at: 5:32 p.m. EDT (2132 GMT)
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Rep. James Rogan, one of the House managers during President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial in the Senate, may be facing a task as challenging as convicting the president of perjury and obstruction of justice -- winning re-election.
Rogan's 27th Congressional District, which includes a portion of Los Angeles, Pasadena and Glendale, is largely Democratic and his newfound notoriety over impeachment may make Rogan one of the most endangered House incumbents in 2000.
Rep. James Rogan faces a tough re-election race
It has been almost seven months since Clinton's Senate trial ended, yet listeners on radio station KIEV in Glendale, California are still talking about the president's acquittal.
"I certainly have no apologies for my actions or my conduct. I did my job. I followed my oath. I followed the Constitution," Rogan told one listener who called with a question about the trial.
Reaction to Rogan's role in the whole impeachment drama -- first as a member fo the House Judiciary Committee which sent four articles of impeachment to the House, then as one of Clinton's 13 prosecutors in the Senate -- has been dramatically split.
Since the trial ended, the two-term congressman has become a hero to many conservatives. People line up to shake his hand and take his picture.
A group of Republican attorneys in downtown Los Angeles recently welcomed Rogan to talk about his historic experiences.
"I was one person who refused to publicly commit to impeach the president until I heard all the evidence and his defense," he said.
But movie moguls such as David Geffen and Steven Spielberg have been actively raising money for Rogan's challenger, California state Sen. Adam Schiff, making him one of the most prodigious fund-raisers among challengers in the 2000 election.
"I'm prepared to win and I'm prepared to lose, but I'm not prepared to sell out my principles," said Rogan.
One GOP political consultant says Rogan's job will be to bring up other issues that have nothing to do with the impeachment trial.
The former judge and prosecutor may be trying to do just that by pushing public schools and Social Security reform and emphasizing his background.
"I grew up on welfare and foods stamps. I was a high school dropout. My mom was convicted of welfare fraud, and she was a single mother who got pregnant by a bartender. No -- he never married her. I'm the illegitimate son of a convicted felon, cocktail waitress," he said.
But his opponent is not likely to let go of the impeachment issue.
"People want someone whose top priority is local concerns, not national, partisan, ideological crusades," said Schiff.
CNN's Jennifer Auther contributed to this report.