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The race to replace Ben Hueso is on, as Secretary of State Debra Bowen yesterday (April 2) certified the candidacies of two Democrats – labor leader Lorena Gonzalez and former Chula Vista city councilman Steve Castaneda, who will face off in a May 21 special election for the 80th District seat in the California Assembly, which includes Chula Vista, National City, and parts of San Diego.

Next month’s election will complete a transfer upward on the political ladder for a host of Democratic politicians: former state Senator Juan Vargas won a seat in the House of Representatives to replace Bob Filner, who stepped down to launch a successful mayoral bid; Ben Hueso then won his own special election to replace Vargas in the state legislature’s upper chamber, leaving room for a newcomer in the heavily Democratic district.

Castaneda, a former police officer, in recent days has trumpeted law enforcement endorsements from Chula Vista Police Chief Bill Winters and Victor Gonzalez, president of the San Diego County Chapter of the National Latino Peace Officers Association. A February poll referenced on Castaneda’s campaign website claimed a 5% advantage for Castaneda at the time, though only 53% of voters at the time indicated a preference.

Gonzalez, for her part, has rolled out endorsements from the local firefighters’ union, Republican-turned-independent former assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, and Filner, Vargas, and Hueso.

The fundraising advantage at this point tilts heavily in Gonzalez’s favor – a January 22 filing shows total contributions of $126,723.08, including $21,000 from four United Food and Commercial Workers receipts, at least another $22,000 from other unions, $2,000 from Juan Vargas’s congressional campaign, and $1,500 each from Congressman Scott Peters, the campaign of state Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, and Sempra Energy.

Castaneda, in a January 30 filing, listed 6 donors contributing a total of $4,300.

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Linc2000 May 6, 2013 @ 2:44 p.m.

There is a Republican running in this Special Election for the 80th State Assembly seat on May 21, 2013. http://www.lincolnpickard.com/80/



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