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As expected, this morning former state Senator Denise Ducheny formally announced her candidacy for the 51st Congressional District seat, which is being vacated by mayoral candidate Bob Filner. The move was foreshadowed two weeks ago when she submitted a letter of intent to resign from the California Unemployment Appeals Board - she officially resigned on Tuesday.

Ducheny enters the race having already been blasted by her fellow Democrat and likely primary opponent, Juan Vargas. On Monday Vargas blasted the whole Unemployment Appeals Board, saying “It is time to stop this wasteful board from being the place where termed-out, drunk-driving legislators get an easy government job." He also placed the note "drunk driving arrest" next to Ducheny's name on a list of board members.

“It’s not surprising to me that Vargas attacked [Denise] because campaigns he’s run in the past have been negative,” political consultant Chris Crotty told San Diego News Room. “What most people aren’t aware of is that negative campaigning is a legitimate campaign strategy because if it’s done well a voter can become confused or disgusted and stays home.”

Ducheny, for her part, seemed to question Vargas' timing, noting he'd just been elected to the California State Senate last year. "I think the constituents need to be represented at all levels. I don’t understand why Juan would desert constituents who just elected him and who would be otherwise unrepresented."

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