Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee opens committee to run for Maldonado's Senate seat
Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) has opened a campaign committee to run for Abel Maldonado's state Senate seat.
Blakeslee, a former Assembly Republican leader, is a front-runner for the seat. Former Assemblyman John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) has also been mentioned as a possible contender.
Blakeslee may benefit from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision to hold the election in June instead of waiting until November. The June election is expected to have a lower voter turnout than November's and is thought to give Republicans an advantage.
Democrats have a 41-35 registration advantage over Republicans in the district. Twenty percent of the district's voters are registered decline-to-state.
If no candidate receives 50% of the June 22 vote, the top vote-getter in each party will be held on Aug. 17. Democrats and county officials have urged Schwarzenegger to "reconsider" his decision to hold an early election, and have asked him to move the runoff election to coincide with the Nov. 2 general election.