GOP Sen. Sam Aanestad seeks state lieutenant governor post

Veteran Grass Valley legislator in crowded Republican field
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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State Sen. Sam Aanestad has joined a crowded field in the race for California lieutenant-governor. Current Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi is making a strong bid to succeed U.S. Rep. Ellen Tauscher in the Nov. 3 runoff for her Bay Area seat. That sets up an open field for next year’s lieutenant-governor’s election. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would appoint a successor but seven candidates have already put their names forward for the June primary – three Democrats and four Republicans. Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, is being termed out of office after eight years representing the 4th District. The district takes in a broad swath of Northern California, including the communities of Rocklin, Loomis and Lincoln. His district also stretches from North Auburn to Grass Valley along both sides of Highway 49. Other Republican contenders at this point are state Sen. Jim Denham of Salinas, state Sen. Jim Battin of Palm Desert, and Assemblyman George Plescia of San Diego. Three Democrats have also announced their candidacy for the June primary – Mervin Evans, Dean Florez and Alan Lowenthal. A dentist who was named 2006 California Charter School Legislator of the Year by the California Charter Schools Association, Aanestad said he’ll be running on conservative values “such as free enterprise, individual liberty and the freedom of the individual to succeed.” “They may sound old-fashioned, but those are still the values of most of the people of this state, and those are the values I will bring to the lieutenant governor’s office,” Aanestad said. Tom Hudson, president of the Placer Republican Party, said Monday that while his position dictates that he not endorse candidates, he was pleased to see Aanestad enter the race.