A competitive race is shaping up in the Central Valley to fill the vacancy created when Michael Rubio resigned from the state Senate, and Senate Democratic leaders have picked their favorite.
Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez, a Democrat, is the latest to announce her candidacy for the 16th Senate District seat and she has been endorsed by 18 senators, including Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento).
Perez, who previously worked for Rubio, said she recognizes that "good people will step forward, and I believe the public will be well-served by a healthy debate on the direction of our state."
Shafter City Councilwoman Fran Florez and former Hanford school board member Alfred Benavidez are other Democrats who have announced their candidacy.
Florez is the mother of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez.
Announced candidates so far also include Republican farmer Andy Vidak, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2010.
Rubio, a Democrat from Shafter, resigned abruptly from the state Senate last month to take a job as head of government affairs in California for Chevron Corp. The primary will be May 21 and, if no candidate wins a majority, a runoff would be held July 23.
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