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Francine Pocino Busby (born March 3, 1951) is the Democratic candidate in the 2006 General Election for California's 50th congressional district which represents northwest San Diego County. She won an April Special Election, but did not gain the more than 50% of the vote necessary to win the seat. Her Republican opponent for November is Brian Bilbray, who narrowly defeated her in the June 6, 2006 Special Election to fill the vacancy in the same district, caused by the resignation of Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

Busby Clark

Francine Busby with General Wesley Clark


Busby was born in Los Angeles, California, to an Italian American family, and grew up in nearby Arcadia. She graduated with a BA in Humanities from UC Irvine. From 1974–1981 Busby was a travel manager and marketer for the Walt Disney Travel Company. She married her husband David Busby in 1979. They had two children, Maria and Michael, and Busby quit her job to raise them. In 1988 the family moved to Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California.


She ran two successful school bond campaigns in 1998 and 2000, became president of the Cardiff Education Foundation in 2000, was appointed to fill a vacancy to the Cardiff School Board, and, in 2002, was elected for a full school board term. She also serves in various community organizations.

Busby ran unsuccessfully against Randy "Duke" Cunningham, the Federal Representative in her district, in the 2004 U.S. House election. She got 37% of the vote versus Cunningham's 58%. Cunningham later resigned on November 28, 2005, after pleading guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud, and tax evasion (for underreporting his 2004 income).

Busby has made ethics reform a centerpiece of her campaign, calling for bi-partisan support of her ethics reform proposal, the "Clean House Act." Her campaign has been endorsed by EMILY's List, Democracy for America, and a number of federal, state and local officials, including California State Treasurer and 2006 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides.

A pro-choice candidate, Busby was the founding President of the Casa Teresa Central Guild, an Orange County shelter for homeless pregnant women.

2006 Congressional Election[]

Special election and runoff[]

A special election was held on April 11, 2006. If a single candidate had won a simple majority, he or she would have served out the rest of Cunningham's term. Busby garnered 43.75 percent of the vote, 6.26 percentage points short of the majority necessary to avoid a runoff race. As no candidate won a simple majority, the top vote-getters in each party faced each other in a runoff held on June 6, 2006.

Because the 50th is considered to be a heavily Republican district, it would have been considered major news if Busby won. "This is a biggie," said Carl Luna, a political science professor at San Diego's Mesa College. "Everyone is going to be reading the tea leaves as a predictor of November." For that reason, the National Republican Congressional Committee spent $5 million on this race.

Election results[]

In the April 11 special election Busby led all vote getters with 43.7 percent of the vote, but that was 6.3 percentage points short of the majority necessary to avoid a runoff race. She faced the leading vote getter from the two other parties participating: Republican Brian Bilbray and Libertarian Paul King, as well as independent candidate William Griffith, in a June 6 runoff.

In the June 6 runoff, Busby lost to Bilbray 49.3% to 45.5%. Bilbray became the Congressman to finish Cunningham's term. In the June 6 general election primary, Busby and Bilbray each captured their party's nomination (as did Libertarian Paul King and Peace and Freedom candidate Miriam E. Clark), and will meet again in this November's general election.