LEMOORE -- Assemblyman David Valadao kicked off his campaign for Congress tonight in front of a room full of supporters at Ethel Red's Chop House.
"I feel really good about this race," said Valadao, a first-term Republican member of the state Assembly and a dairy farmer from Hanford. "I've got a record I'm proud of. I'm proud of everything I've done in Sacramento."
Valadao enters as the clear front-runner with a significant funding advantage. Several big Democratic names have flirted with the contest but have so far declined to run, including former state Sen. Dean Florez, former Lieutenant Gov. Cruz Bustamante and state Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Bakersfield.
The filing period ends at 5 p.m. Friday.
Only Democrat John Hernandez, CEO of the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, has announced his candidacy. The newly formed 21st Congressional District is up for grabs because redistricting moved Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, into a new district.
Read the weekend edition of The Sentinel for the full story.