As expected, state Sens. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) and Gloria Negrete-McLeod (D-Chino) are stepping down from state office Wednesday so they can take seats in Congress, to which they were elected Nov. 6.
Negrete-McLeod's resignation is effective at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, while Vargas' resignation takes effect at 5 p.m. Both members wrote in their resignation letters to Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) that they were honored to have served in the Senate.
"I look forward to continuing to work with you and my successor to further strengthen the relationship between the state of California and federal government,'' Vargas wrote. Negrete-McLeod wrote "it is with great sadness and joy that I ask you to accept my resignation as an elected member of the California State Senate.”
Negrete-McLeod and Vargas are scheduled to be sworn in to their congressional seats Thursday.Gov. Jerry Brown now has 14 days to call a special election to fill the two Senate seats. Senate Democrats are hoping for a March primary and May general election so the new senators can be on board in time for the annual budget vote, said Rhys Williams, a spokesman for Steinberg. Candidates are already lining up to run for the two seats.
Assemblywoman Norma Torres (D-Pomona) and San Bernardino County Auditor/Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector Larry Walker are among those running for the Negrete-McLeod seat, while Assemblyman Ben Hueso (D-Logan Heights) has announced his candidacy to replace Vargas.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: Rep.-elect Gloria Negrete-Mcleod (D-Chino). Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press