Local Politics

Friday, Jan 10 2014 05:33 PM

GOP Assembly leader Conway says she'll make 2018 state Senate run

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    Assemblywoman Connie Conway, R-Tulare, the Assembly Republican leader.

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BY JOHN ELLIS The Fresno Bee

It's no secret that Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, who will be forced from the state Legislature this year by term limits, has opened up a state Senate account for a possible 2018 run.

The account has been open a year, is actively receiving contributions, and had more than $400,000 as of Sept. 30.

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Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway is headed down the aisle.

Conway, 63, a Tulare resident who is divorced with two grown children, is engaged to Tulare City Council Member Craig Vejvoda.

No wedding date has been set. It will definitely come after the end of the current legislative session, when Conway is termed out of the state Assembly, spokeswoman Sabrina Lockhart said.

Vejvoda, a 56-year-old Republican, represents District 5 on the Tulare council, which covers several neighborhoods east of Highway 99. Outside of his elected office, Vejvoda has two children and is a financial advisor with The Principal Financial Group.

He popped the question just before Thanksgiving.

-- The Fresno Bee

But lots of politicians open up campaign accounts only to not run for that seat -- or not run at all. Some just use it as a spot to park their campaign money while they consider their next political move.

On Thursday, however, the Tulare Republican made it official: She'll seek the 16th state Senate District seat when Bakersfield's Jean Fuller, the current occupant, is termed out in 2018.

Fuller is, like Conway, a Republican. Conway's current Assembly district includes the Kern River Valley.

"Right now, it's a goal of mine," Conway said of running. "Jean is wonderful. She does a great job. I'm not challenging her, but when she is termed out I will be seeking that seat."

Conway will turn 64 in September, which means she'll take office at age 68 if she wins the election four years from now. Then again, she didn't even start her political career until age 50, when in 2000 she won a seat on the Tulare County Board of Supervisors.

She'll also have to cool her political jets for a few years between the end of her Assembly career this coming Nov. 30 and the start of her Senate campaign.

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