MODESTO, Calif. – By all appearances, it’s business as usual at Congressman Gary Condit’s district office in Modesto, Calif. However, some here wonder how long his name will stay on the door.
"You can't have a scandal like this and expect to win re-election," said Jim DeMartini, the Republican Committee Chair of Stanislaus County.
The Levy disappearance is quickly turning into a tragedy that’s playing out in Washington, D.C. But the drama here involves local Republicans, who see a chance to claim the 18th congressional seat. They’re calling for the embattled seven-term congressman to resign. Even if he doesn’t, though, the GOP is waiting.
"He can go ahead and stay in office and twist in the wind, and we're gonna get him in the next election," DeMartini said. "He’s got a lot to answer to. This story is still not over with."
Not so fast, say the Democrats. Condit might be in trouble, but the final chapter isn’t written yet.
"People are saying, 'Okay, so he made a mistake, lets move forward,'" county Democratic Committee Chair Sandy Lukas said. "We're still behind Gary; it’s a long time until an election."
Word from Condit’s own office is that the congressman will run for an eighth term next year. After all, it’s hard to ignore Condit's electoral success in the district — he has won his seat by 60 percent of the vote or more every time since 1989.
But a casual survey of people on the street showed that doubts remain over the congressman's honesty.
"I don't think he's told everything," one woman said.
Still, others said the scandal didn’t change things.
"Whether he did or didn't have an affair with her, whether he does or doesn't take a lie detector test, it's not going to affect my opinion of him that much," one man said.
"I believe him, you know?" another man said. "I just trust the man."
But it was impossible to get beyond the shadow of Chandra Levy for long. Many people said they want to see and hear from Condit about what’s going on. His silence and seclusion have made his once-loyal district skeptical, and they want answers.
"I think there's more to it," a woman said. "I think he ought to spill the beans, [that's] what I honestly think!"
Claudia Cowan currently serves as Fox News Channel's (FNC) San Francisco-based correspondent. She joined the network in 1998.