CALIFORNIA Lungren, the unsuccessful Republican nominee for California governor in 1998, is one of three former House Members now returning for the 109th Congress. Lungren represented the Long Beach area from 1978 to 1988, where he became one of Ronald Reagan’s favorite Congressmen and was known as a staunch conservative. Then he spent eight years as the Golden State’s attorney general before losing to Democrat Gray Davis in the 1998 gubernatorial election. But by the time Lungren had decided to return to public service after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the definition of conservatism had shifted significantly, and Lungren found himself the centrist in a nasty GOP primary with state Sen. Rico Oller and businesswoman Mary Ose. Squeezed in the middle, Lungren caught crossfire from both sides. He was also badly outspent: Lungren was the only candidate not to make a significant contribution to his own campaign, and in late polls, he was running third. But when the primary votes were tallied, Lungren emerged victorious, with almost 39 percent. After waiting several days for absentee ballots to be counted, Oller conceded, and Republicans closed ranks quickly. Lungren glided to victory over Democrat Gabe Castillo, a financial adviser, last week….