A week after announcing her interest in replacing former state Sen. Michael Rubio, Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez is officially launching her campaign in Fresno today.
The Bakersfield Democrat is hardly a household name in Fresno, the Senate district’s most populous area, but she’s hoping to change that by concentrating her initial outreach here.
Perez is opening the first of her two planned offices at 480 N. Fulton Street in Central Fresno this afternoon. She’s scheduled to talk up her credentials at a 4:30 meet and greet in which the public is invited to attend.
The race for the 16th District seat is nothing short of a crash course in campaigning. Candidates for the office, which Rubio abruptly left last month to take a job with Chevron, have had just weeks to make a decision on running and have less than two months for politicking before the May 21 election.
Perez chose Fresno for her campaign kick-off because the county is home to about half of the district’s registered voters. The rest are in Kern, Kings and Tulare counties.
Fellow Democrat Fran Florez, a Shafter City Council member, launched her campaign in Fresno last week.
Republican Andy Vidak, of Hanford, rounds out the list of front-runners so far.
The deadline to file for the contest is Friday.
Perez will benefit in the race from the district’s large share of Democratic voters and the support she has from her party’s Senate leadership, including President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.
On Wednesday, the California Democratic Party is expected to figure its endorsement, which is Perez’s to lose. The endorsement comes with campaign cash that, among other things, is a big boost to name recognition.
Perez expects to open a second campaign office next week in Bakersfield.
If no candidate wins 50% of the vote, plus one, in May, the top two vote-getters proceed to a July 23 runoff.