Clare Berryhill, a former state legislator who also served as California's top agriculture official, announced that he will run for the congressional seat vacated by former Rep. Tony Coelho. His announcement came shortly after Modesto Mayor Carol Whiteside said she was withdrawing. The Republican mayor had been among the first to announce her intention of seeking the 15th District seat held by Democrat Coelho, 47, who resigned June 15 after ethical questions were raised in Congress about his financial dealings. The Republican Berryhill, 63, who has strong political connections to California's growers, said he decided to enter the race after GOP strategists asked him to. The favored Democrat in the Sept. 12 special election is Assemblyman Gary Condit of Ceres. "Agriculture is going to be one of the big issues," Berryhill said. "It's the lifeblood of the Central Valley."