Howard Kaloogian

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Howard Kaloogian

Howard Kaloogian is a politician known for his conservative republican views.

Kaloogian is of Armenian decent. He was raised in Detroit area in a tightly knit Armenian community. His maternal great-grandparents died at the hands of Turks in 1915 Armenian Genocide. His mother died in 2001 near Detroit.

Kaloogian's political life started in 1993 when he, then a 32-year-old Carlsbad estate attorney, wrote a strongly worded letter to this newspaper correcting a reader's misleading take on the preamble to the Constitution.

The passionate statement of bedrock conservative principle caught the eye of Bill Morrow, then the assemblyman representing the 73rd District, who called Kaloogian and suggested he run for an open Assembly seat in the 74th.

A Reagan-adoring Republican with a razor-keen interest in politics, young Kaloogian took Morrow's advice and, to the shock and chagrin of GOP moderates, outpolled the crowded primary field and then cruised to victory in the general election.

Kaloogian has termed out from the Assembly in 2000.

As for 2006, to pay the bills, Kaloogian, already divorced, handled donor estate planning for Hillsdale College in Michigan.

To feed his constant craving for political action, he has jumped onto a fleet of bandwagons - the recall of California Gov. Gray Davis; the pro-war protest against Cindy Sheehan's anti-Bush protest in Crawford, Texas; the pro-military Move America Forward; the Defend Reagan Committee that fought the broadcast of a TV movie about the Reagans.

Kaloogian was described as North County's Energizer Bunny of conservative activism.

In 2006 there was a special moment in his political life.

In the April 11 special primary for the 50th Congressional District, Kaloogian was scrapping for every vote in his hard-core Republican base.

His goal was to finish second to Francine Busby, the virtually unopposed Democrat, and then, as the top Republican vote-getter, square off against Busby in the special June runoff where the GOP advantage in voter registration would work in his favor.

But the thing is that, Kaloogian would have to climb over the burly body of none other than . . . Bill Morrow.

A few hundred votes one way or the other could decide who would get a shot at beating up Busby and going to Washington to replace former Rep. Randall Harold Cunningham.

There were several Republicans also involved such as Former South Bay Congressman Brian Bilbray, businessman Alan Uke or former Del Mar mayor and high-tech CEO Richard Earnest but Kaloogian and Morrow were GOP warhorses who only run to the right.

Sitting in front of a south Carlsbad coffeehouse, Kaloogian explained why he, and not state Sen. Morrow, would win the majority of rock-ribbed Republican votes.

"I appeal to the activist who understands that you have to take a position and advocate for it instead of someone who votes correctly and goes fishing," he said.

"I'm known for promoting our position. I'm known for advancing our agenda, credentialing our candidates, and advancing our ideas whereas others vote correctly - and go home."

"Politics is about confrontation," he shot back. "It's about winning the war of ideas. You have to be engaged to win."

Evoking the Nixon era when the county was torn apart over a distant war, Kaloogian said his natural constituency is the Silent Majority.

"They're the home-schoolers," he said. "They're the folks who go to church and go to work and go home. That's where they go. On the weekends, they go to the soccer practice and the softball, and they go home. They go to grandma's house. They're never going to go to a rally or attend a debate, but they're there - and they vote."

As sports broadcasters like to say, there are games within games. The same goes for politics.

Morrow's persona was dignified, unflappable, even magisterial.

Kaloogian, on the other hand, was a mercurial bulldog itching to mix it up with Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Barbara Boxer and all the other "hard-core leftists."

Out on the right, where talk radio, church leaders, the NRA, anti-abortion groups and conservative blogs exert tremendous influence, Morrow and Kaloogian were about to make their impassioned pitches to voters, many of whom had voted for both of them before.

Would their private battle win the spoils or if they'll split the arch-conservative vote and thus kill each other's campaigns. That was the main talking point of the 2006 campaign.


  • The irony is acute, San Diego Union Tribune, CA, Januar 26, 2006