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By Felix Adamo / The Californian
By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Bakersfield City Councilman Russell Johnson said Tuesday afternoon he has decided not to run for the 16th state Senate District post just vacated by Democrat Michael Rubio.
Johnson, a Republican, had been mentioned as a possible contender for the seat Rubio recently left to spend more time with family. Johnson said earlier this month that he's received a lot of support for his potential candidacy. A special primary election for the seat has been set for May 21 and a special general election for July 23.
"I appreciate all of the encouragement and support I received to potentially seek the vacant Senate seat formerly held by Michael Rubio. However, at this time I have decided not to run," Johnson said in a statement Tuesday.
"This is a crucial election and the two-thirds majority in the Senate is in play. It is imperative that Republicans unite together to support only one candidate. GOP leaders I spoke with in Sacramento have analyzed this race, and Andy Vidak is one of many potential Republican contenders that can win this seat," he continued. "With the two-thirds majority at risk, it doesn't benefit the party to have multiple candidates at this time. Therefore, I will continue my efforts on the City Council of dealing with the negative impacts of realignment, maintain the city's fiscal health, and attempting to facilitate job growth in the Bakersfield community."
Rubio's resignation dropped Democrats below the two-thirds threshold they need to pass tax changes or override vetoes.
Vidak, a Hanford farmer and former contender for Congress, said Monday he will run for the 16th state Senate District seat.
Rubio stepped down last month, saying he wants to spend more time with his family. He planned to join Chevron Corp. as manager of governmental affairs in Sacramento.