Lack of local interest in state Assembly vacancy | SierraSun.com

Lack of local interest in state Assembly vacancy

Erich Sommer, Sierra Sun

With current state Assemblyman Sam Aanestad preparing to run for the state’s 4th District Senatorial seat, the 3rd Assembly District, which includes Truckee, will be wide open.

But hats aren’t exactly flying into the ring.

In fact, only one candidate, Republican or Democrat, has declared their candidacy for the district seat. Rick Keene, the former mayor of Chico, announced last week that he would seek to fill Aanestad’s seat. Keene has already been endorsed by 4th District Assemblyman and fellow Republican Tim Leslie and 1st District State Senator Rico Oller.

The 3rd Assembly District runs from Nevada County on the southern end all the way to the Oregon border. Reapportionment moves Modoc County out of the district and adds portions of Northern Placer County.

Northeastern California is currently dominated by conservatives, including assemblymen Aanestad, Leslie, Sen. Oller and U.S. Rep. Wally Herger, R-Marysville.

The 4th Senatorial District, which includes much of the Sacramento Valley and Shasta County, will add western Nevada County through reapportionment. That annexation enables Nevada City-based Aanestad to qualify for the seat and avoid running against his ally, Oller.

“I never considered running [for the Senate] in the 1st District because I like the way Rico votes,” Aanestad said.

The 4th District seat is currently held by Maurice Johannessen, who will be termed out next fall.

State senators can hold office for two four-year terms. Assemblymen are termed out after three two-year terms.

Aanestad cited term limits and prodding by the Republican leadership as reasons for seeking the 4th District seat in the state Senate.

In addition, the longer, four-year terms for state Senators will be more conducive to “some of the things I’m working on, like health care in rural California,” he said.

“[In the Assembly] just when they get to know you, your terms are up.”