Local Politics

Friday, Mar 08 2013 09:00 PM

Election notebook: Perez close to announcing state Senate intentions

By The Bakersfield Californian

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez edged closer to a possible for the state Senate seat just vacated by her mentor Michael Rubio with a statement to The Californian Friday.

Perez stopped short of announcing her candidacy, saying instead that she would talk with family, friends and statewide leaders in the Democratic Party before making her decision public next week.

Perez wrote that whether or not she runs, she and her volunteer team -- which delivered her an outright win of the 5th District supervisor's seat in last June's primary over incumbent Karen Goh -- will take an active role in ensuring a strong Democrat wins the legislative seat.

"I have been contacted by numerous state Democratic leaders this afternoon and have been encouraged to begin conversations with them about a potential run. My family and I need a day to decide what is most right," she wrote.

"I have agreed to meet with state leaders throughout this weekend and early next week concerning the future of this seat.

"I want to make it as clear as possible to the community that I am committed to seeing the strongest Democratic leader in this seat. In preparation of my family's decision, we have activated our organizers and extensive volunteer base throughout the valley in preparation to win this seat.

"Most importantly, as a leader in the local Democratic Party, I will not sit idle while this seat is preyed upon by under-qualified candidates or political opportunists -- my team is now engaged in this fight."

The special primary election to replace Rubio will be held May 21 and the special general election July 23, Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday.

Rubio, D-Shafter, stepped down from his 16th Senate District seat last month to spend more time with his family.

Brown had 14 days from the time Rubio announced his resignation -- which was Feb. 22 -- to set the date of the special elections.

If Perez were to win the state Senate seat -- and many names of potential candidates have been floated -- the governor would appoint a replacement county supervisor.

Another election for the seat would be held during the June 2014 primary and the term would expire in January 2017, said Kern County Counsel Theresa Goldner.

Friday was the deadline for potential candidates for the empty Ward 1 Bakersfield City Council seat to file papers to run, and six people qualified by each gathering valid signatures from at least 20 registered Ward 1 voters.

The final list of candidates is: Stephanie Campbell, a consultant and grant writer for nonprofit organizations; Marvin Dean, a community activist; Efren Martinez, a marketing consultant; Tomeka Powell, an analyst at Community Action Partnership of Kern; Willie Rivera, a 16th state Senate District staffer; and Donald Vereen, director of the Bakersfield City School District's Educational Foundation. Dean is the only one of the six who ran for the seat in 2010.

The Ward 1 seat, representing a portion of southeast Bakersfield, was left empty when Rudy Salas won a seat in the state Assembly last November and moved to that office in Sacramento. The council decided in January to hold a special election, slated for June 4.

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