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State Senate 21: Tim Donnelly not running in special election for Steve Knight’s seat

By John Hrabe
Home > Blog > State Senate 21: Tim Donnelly not running in special election for Steve Knight’s seat

Former Assemblyman Tim Donnelly announced Tuesday that he won’t run in the 2015 special election to replace State Senator and Congressman-elect Steve Knight.

“After a great deal of soul-searching, prayer and conversation with family, friends and potential constituents, I have decided that I will not seek election to the 21st State Senate seat which will be vacated by Steve Knight early next year,” Donnelly, the self-described “patriot not politician,” said in a statement.

But, Donnelly left open the possibility of a future campaign.

“I look forward to spending more time with my family while my boys are still living at home, and am excited about future opportunities to serve–political and otherwise that lie ahead,” he said.

2016: Rep. Paul Cook vs. Tim Donnelly?
What “future opportunities to serve” might Donnelly be alluding to?

Earlier this month, one of the state’s top political observers noted Donnelly’s interest in challenging Rep. Paul Cook in the San Bernardino-based 8th Congressional District.

“A State Senate run would be good news for Paul Cook, as he has been seen as a likely target of Donnelly for CD08 in 2016,” Scott Lay, publisher of The Nooner, wrote earlier this month.

Cook, a retired Marine colonel, easily won his second term in Congress last month. However, under California’s Top 2 Primary, the moderate Republican, who recently voted for the pork-laden $1.01 trillion spending bill, is susceptible to an intra-party challenge for his safe GOP seat.

State Senate 21: Replacing Steve Knight

Senator Steve Knight
Last month, voters tapped Knight to succeed Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, in the 25th Congressional District. Knight will need to resign his position in the state Legislature sometime before January 5 in order to take his place in the House of Representatives.

Donnelly is the second major candidate to pass on the race. KHTS reported last month that Assemlyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, has ruled out a run for the seat.

Victorville businessman Sal Chavez has already launched his campaign for Knight’s seat. So has Hesperia City Councilman Eric Schmidt. Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford has formed an exploratory committee, but isn’t formally committed to the race. Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris is similarly toying with the idea of running for the seat. All are Republicans.

Democrats now hold an edge in voter registration, which could help a lone Democrat reach a run-off. Star Moffatt, the 2012 Democratic nominee who lost to Knight by 15 points, has also announced for the seat.

Within 14 calendar days of Knight’s resignation, Gov. Jerry Brown must, in accordance with the California Elections Code, call a special election between 126 and 140 days later. If no candidate claims 50 percent of the vote plus one in the first round, a run-off election will be held between the top two candidates.

State Senate District 21: Voter Registration
a.. Democrat: 38.3 percent
b.. Republican: 35.7 percent
c.. Decline to State: 20.2 percent
(H/T AroundtheCapitol.com for voter registration data.)

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About John Hrabe
John Hrabe spends his time traveling the world as a freelance journalist. When he isn’t on an international flight, John writes about state and national politics for CalWatchdog.com, FlashReport.org, Huffington Post and the editorial pages of the Orange County Register. John’s most recent high-profile investigation uncovered the questionable labor practices of Goodwill Industries, the nonprofit organization famous for its secondhand clothing stores.
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