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Friday, Mar 09 2012 08:51 PM

Election line-ups solidify after Friday deadline

BY JAMES BURGER AND ANTONIE BOESSENKOOL Californian staff writers jburger@bakersfield.com aboessenkool@bakersfield.com

Voters will face ballots packed with options June 5 as political novices and veterans alike vie for spots in a political landscape altered by redistricting and retirements.

Heated races are expected for an open seat in Congress, an Assembly seat emptied by an incumbent's run for higher office and three toss-up seats on the Kern County Board of Supervisors.

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CANDIDATE LINE-UPS

21st Congressional District

David Valadao, Hanford, Republican

John Hernandez, Fresno, Democrat

Blong Xiong, Fresno, Democrat

23rd Congressional District

Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Bakersfield, Bakersfield

Eric Parker, Mojave, Republican

Terry Phillips, Bakersfield, no party affiliation

26th Assembly District

Assemblywoman Connie Conway, Tulare, Republican

Jonathon Sosa, Visalia, Democrat

32nd Assembly District

Rudy Salas, Bakersfield, Democrat

Jon McQuiston, Delano, Republican

Pedro Rios, Delano, Republican

Dave Thomas, Hanford, Republican

34th Assembly District

Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, Bakersfield, Republican

Mari Goodman, Tehachapi, Democrat

Kern County Board of Supervisors

District 1 - Ridgecrest, Kern River Valley, Delano, McFarland, Shafter

Confirmed candidates:

Dave Freeland

Sam Ramirez

Daures Stephens

Deborah Hess

Mick Gleason

Roy Ashburn

Potential candidates:

Carter Pope

Marshall "Chip" Holloway

Heidi Carter-Escudero

District 4 - Frazier Park, Taft, Wasco, Lost Hills, west Bakersfield

Confirmed candidates:

David Couch

Harley Pinson

Potential candidate:

Michael Rouw

District 5 - Lamont, Arvin and east and central Bakersfield

Supervisor Karen Goh

Leticia Perez

The rosters for most primary races firmed up Friday, and there were few surprises. Most candidates had long before announced their intent to run.

New district boundaries will take effect this election. Also new will be an open primary system in which the top two vote-getters in the primary will advance to the November election, regardless of party. And voters can vote for any candidate in the primary, regardless of party.

Not all the race line-ups were sown up Friday. Several could see their filing deadlines extended to Wednesday; two Kern County supervisorial bouts definitely will.

Here's what we know:

21ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Assemblyman David Valadao, R-Hanford, will face Fresno Democrat John Hernandez, chief executive officer of the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Fresno City Councilman Blong Xiong, a Democrat.

Xiong would be the first person of Hmong descent to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to his campaign. Xiong has worked in his family's grocery business, as an organizer in the Hmong community and as an investigator for the Fresno County Public Defender's office.

Hernandez worked in the insurance industry for nearly 10 years before becoming CEO of the Hispanic chamber in December 2006.

Democrat Dean Florez, the former state senator and assemblyman from Shafter, had expressed interest in the race but hadn't filed to run by the Friday deadline.

23RD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Two candidates will try to unseat Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, the House majority whip. Both said they want to give voters more choice than was available in past elections McCarthy won.

Eric Parker of Mojave, an auto parts store manager, said there should be less party politics and financial influence in government.

"This will be his first official fight," Parker said of challenging McCarthy.

Parker said he registered as a Republican but "I've never worried about party. ... I would call myself a freedomist more than anything else."

Parker said he doesn't plan to take any contributions and will run with $1,000 of his own money and the help of his 81-year-old father, Robert Parker.

Also in the race is Terry Phillips of Bakersfield, a former talk show host for Valley Public Radio. Phillips said he registered with no party affiliation.

"I recognize that the incumbent has a whole lot of money and access to a lot more, so we know we have a lot of work to do," Phillips said.

Phillips said he wants to give voters "an opportunity to choose between at least two different perspectives on how best to serve our community" and hopes to publicly debate McCarthy.

He said many voters he's met so far are politically independent and their ranks are growing more quickly than those in registered parties, "which, frankly, is why I expect I'll win."

32ND ASSEMBLY DISTRICT

This race has drawn four contenders: Bakersfield City Councilman Rudy Salas, retiring Kern County Supervisor Jon McQuiston, former Hanford City Councilman Dave Thomas and former Delano City Councilman Pedro Rios.

Salas is a Democrat, the first Hispanic on the Bakersfield City Council and a project manager in his family's general contractor business. On his website, Salas says he puts a strong emphasis on community services, public safety and economic development as a councilman.

McQuiston, Thomas and Rios are Republicans.

McQuiston was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1996. After retiring from the Navy in 1989, he headed the Land, Sea, Airspace and Environmental Management office at China Lake.

Thomas owns a dairy farm and security company. He served on the Hanford City Council from 2006 to 2010. Thomas said he considers himself an independent and supports the ideas of smaller government and less regulation, which he said would encourage business growth.

Rios owns two small businesses, one that maintains restroom facilities for agricultural work areas and one that provides bee pollination services to Delano farmers. He was elected to the Delano council in 2000 and 2004.

It is possible that since 30th District Assemblyman Valadao has been representing much of the area included in the new 32nd Assembly District, other candidates will be allowed to enter the race if they file nomination papers by Wednesday.

Kern County elections officials said they will not be sure if the filing deadline will be extended until the California Secretary of State's office decides this weekend whether Valadao will be considered the incumbent of the new 32nd District.

34TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT

The 32nd Assembly District that Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield currently represents has been -- for the most part -- converted into the 34th Assembly District through redistricting.

Grove will run for the 34th against Democrat Mari Goodman of Tehachapi, a staffer for Service Employees International Union, Local 1000.

Also during redistricting, the Kern River Valley area of Grove's 32nd District was moved into the new 26th Assembly District, for which Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare, is running.

KERN COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

5th District

Supervisor Karen Goh, an Arnold Schwarzenegger appointee, faces a tough challenge in her first political campaign from Leticia Perez, former Kern County deputy public defender and current staffer for state Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Shafter.

Rubio, the last supervisor elected from the 5th District, has walked neighborhoods with Perez.

Goh has aggressively campaigned to retain the seat. She's backed by powerful Republican consultant Mark Abernathy.

Three other potential candidates for the post did not file by Friday's deadline.

1st and 4th Districts

Candidate lists in the races to replace retiring Supervisors Ray Watson and McQuiston are full but not final. The deadline to file nomination papers in both races is Wednesday because the incumbents chose not to run.

In the 4th District, both veteran Bakersfield City Councilman David Couch and lawyer Harley Pinson, who is also backed by Abernathy, have filed their nomination papers.

The 1st District is overflowing with candidates.

By 5 p.m. Friday, six candidates had filed nomination papers: retired forest ranger Dave Freeland, Delano City Councilman Sam Ramirez, retired Kern County Sheriff's Deputy Daures Stephens, corporate spokeswoman Deborah Hess, retired Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake Commander Mick Gleason and former Kern County Supervisor and state Sen. Roy Ashburn.

Three other potential candidates -- Kern River Valley resident Carter Pope, Ridgecrest Councilman Marshall "Chip" Holloway and Bakersfield public relations professional Heidi Carter-Escudero -- had yet to file.

Carter-Escudero showed up at the Kern County Elections Division late Friday to make sure the filing period would be extended. It was, and she said she will file Monday.

BAKERSFIELD MAYOR

The deadline to file to run for Bakersfield mayor also was Friday, but no one filed to challenge Mayor Harvey Hall, who is seeking his fourth term.

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