Veteran Republican state lawmaker Shannon Grove of Bakersfield dropped a political bombshell on Wednesday morning.
Grove says she will run for state Senate re-election in a Bakersfield-Fresno seat that could pit her versus another sitting Republican senator, Andreas Borgeas of Fresno.
In the new electoral lines, Senate District 16 — currently represented by Grove — would shutter eastern Kern County and a large swath of San Bernardino County in favor of Bakersfield pointing north. The new SD 16 picks up Porterville and parts of Tulare County as well as Kings County.
“I will be running in SD 12,” Grove told GV Wire in a text message.
Senate District 12 is the newly-drawn adjacent district, which includes parts of Bakersfield, wrapping north along Tulare County, and making a westward turn to include Clovis and north Fresno. Several of those communities are in SD 8, currently represented by Borgeas.
That might require a change of address for Grove. A voting database shows her still living within SD 16. State legislative candidates need to be registered to vote within the district when filing to run.
“I will follow the law with all new domicile rules,” said Grove, who served as the minority leader of the state Senate from 2019 until early this year.
If Grove follows through, that would create an open seat in SD 16. Political insiders tell GV Wire that Republican party leaders will make a decision on whom to support after the new year.
The new SD 16 will still lean Democratic, but not as much. An analysis by the state Republican Party has the district D+12%, down from D+19% under the old lines.
Borgeas says that he anticipated the move.
“We had expected that Senator Grove would relocate her domicile to compete within the new Senate lines,” Borgeas said in a brief text.
Borgeas Still Considering, McClintock in Picture?
Borgeas is still considering his next political move, his campaign staff says.
He has publicly pondered running for Congress, opening up an exploratory committee. The newly drawn 5th Congressional District looks to be the most attractive district, covering north Fresno, and several of the mountain communities that Borgeas represents in SD 8.
There is also a special election to fulfill the remainder of Rep. Devin Nunes’s term in CD 22, which will be under the current lines of north Fresno, Clovis, and much of Tulare County.
Another complication — sitting congressman Tom McClintock may run for CD 5.
Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, released a statement, speculating on his and McClintock’s plans.
“I believe Congressman McClintock will run in CD5 . . . That being the case, I am planning to run in the new CD3,” Kiley wrote.
A spokesman for McClintock’s campaign said they are looking at either running in CD 3 or 5. It splits McClintock’s current CD 4.
McClintock’s wife, Lori, passed away unexpectedly last week. There is no timetable when an election announcement may happen.
Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig is also considering a congressional run for both the special election and CD 5.
“I consider McClintock a friend,” he texted GV Wire when asked about possibly running against McClintock.
Republican Chair: Wait and See
Jessica Millan Patterson, the chairwoman of the state Republican Party, is taking a wait-and-see approach to who will run where in the Central Valley.
“I’m sure that these members are having conversations among themselves. We at the party follow the lead of our locals. So, no endorsements can take place at the state party level until county parties have endorsed. I’m sure that these conversations and probably have been going on for several weeks as people try and map out what you know, the timing of when these lines were being finished,” Millan Patterson said.
Millan Patterson said a main role of the state party is to help recruit and train candidates.
“As soon as these incumbents make their intentions known, we’re going to start filling in the spot with some really fantastic candidates that are already been trained and are ready to run on day one,” Millan Patterson said.
Ultimately, Millan Patterson prefers a consensus Republican candidate.
“Any time that we don’t have to spend money in a primary where we can get a consensus candidate, that is ideal for us because we know that in these targeted areas, the Democrats will show up to spend the money,” Millan Patterson said.
Harder Undecided, Janz Out
Congressman Josh Harder, D-Turlock, remains undecided on which congressional district he will run in for 2022, his campaign staff tells GV Wire.
The new congressional lines split the two-term representative’s district in three. With Jim Costa, D-Fresno, announcing he is running for the Fresno-based CD 21, that could leave the Modesto-Merced-Madera CD 13 for Harder.
Also, with Costa making his decision, Fresno County prosecutor and former congressional candidate Andrew Janz said that he is not running for Congress. He endorsed Costa.