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June primary lineup is set in Santa Clarita Valley

With McKeon stepping down, race to replace him could get heated

Posted: March 31, 2014 4:09 p.m.
Updated: March 31, 2014 4:09 p.m.

The clock may be ticking down toward the end of the Santa Clarita City Council race, but the campaigns to represent areas of the Santa Clarita Valley in the state Legislature and Congress are just starting to ramp up.

There are three legislative races voters will have the opportunity to cast ballots for in the June 3 primary election.

They include the race to replace longtime Santa Clarita Valley Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita. McKeon announced in January that he would be retiring at the end of this term.

That leaves open the 25th Congressional District he has held for more than two decades.

Two Republicans — former state Sen. Tony Strickland and current state Sen. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale — have announced runs for the seat.

Strickland carries with him McKeon’s endorsement and a hefty campaign war chest, much of it raised when he was a declared candidate in the nearby 26th Congressional District, where he lost a close election to Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley two years ago.

Knight has secured the endorsement of several local Republican leaders, including Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, former Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, Board of Equalization member George Runner and former state Sen. Sharon Runner.

Lee Rogers, a podiatrist from Simi Valley, has signed on to run again as the Democratic contender after losing to McKeon in the 2012 election. He has been steadily campaigning over the course of the last year.

While Knight, Rogers and Strickland have the name recognition and the financial backing to be considered the early frontrunners for the seat, several others also have signed on to mount campaigns.

Other candidates include Troy Castagna and Navraj Singh, who are running as Republicans, according to the Los Angeles County Office of Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, and Evan Thomas, who is running as a Democrat.

Another candidate, David Bruce, is running as a Libertarian and yet another, Michael Mussack, has listed no party preference, according to the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office.

Assembly District 36
Another race that has attracted attention in the early going is in the 36th Assembly District, which takes in portions of Canyon Country and north Saugus.

The district is currently represented by Assemblyman Steve Fox, D-Palmdale, who won a narrow victory in the 2012 election and is running for re-election this year.

A collection of candidates running as Republicans have emerged to try to retake the seat from the one-term Democrat.

Included is Palmdale City Councilman Tom Lackey; J.D. Kennedy, who is a Marine veteran and former district representative for McKeon; and Suzette Martinez, who is currently a board member for the Santa Clarita Valley Latino Chamber of Commerce.

Another candidate, Kermit F. Franklin, has also signed on to run for the seat as a Democrat.

Assembly District 38
A far less crowded field has emerged in the race in the 38th Assembly District, which encompasses the majority of the Santa Clarita Valley, including the city of Santa Clarita, Agua Dulce, Castaic, Stevenson Ranch and Val Verde, as well as northern sections of the San Fernando Valley and Simi Valley.

Wilk, who was elected comfortably to his first term in 2012, has signed on to run for re-election. He is joined in the 2014 race by challenger Jorge Salomon Fuentes, who is running as a Democrat.

The state primary is June 3, and the general election is Nov. 4.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney




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