Hanford’s David Valadao won’t be running against Michael Rubio for Congress after all. Rubio, D-Bakersfield, announced Tuesday that he won’t be running in the newly created 21st District, stretching from Fresno County through Kings County and into Kern County.
Rubio, who represents the 16th Senate District that includes all of Kings County and parts of surrounding counties, said he needed to focus on family concerns. He had a daughter recently born with Down Syndrome.
“It would be easy to continue my candidacy for Congress with thoughts of being engaged in the difficult issues that face our nation today,” Rubio said. “But my family needs me more today than Congress does. I will not be running for the U.S. Congress in 2012.”
Rubio had formed a campaign committee and started fundraising earlier this year, but didn’t make a formal announcement.
His decision Tuesday to pull out leaves Republican assemblyman Valadao as the only officially declared candidate in the new district, which was opened when Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, was moved into new district as a result of redistricting this year. Valadao jumped out of the gate early by announcing that he would run in early August.
“I respect the fact that Michael made what he feels is the best decision for his family and wish them the best,” Valadao said. “My family and I remain committed to this race. We will continue working to earn support throughout the Valley.”
With the election nearly a year away, speculation is swirling that Valadao could face Dean Florez, former state senator for Kings County. Florez has said he’s very interested in running.
Valadao soundly beat Fran Florez, Dean Florez’ mother, in 2010 in the 30th Assembly District race.
Rubio said he’ll focus on his current term in Sacramento, which ends in 2014.
“This is a critical time in California and the Central Valley,” he said. “With all my might, I look forward to the good fight in Sacramento.”
The reporter can be reached at 583-2432 or snidever@HanfordSentinel.com.