As expected, the emergence of an open seat next year in the highly competitive 44th Assembly District is attracting a lot of interest among Ventura County elected officials. It's already been reported that Oxnard Harbor District Commissioner Jason Hodge has declared his intent to run and has formed a campaign committee to begin raising funds.
Two other Democratic local elected officials are also actively exploring the idea of entering the race by trying to line up possible supporters and endorsers. They are Thousand Oaks City Councilwoman Jacqui Irwin and Ventura County Community College District Trustee Bernardo Perez, a former Moorpark mayor. Of the two, I'm told that Irwin may be further along in the process.
It is interesting that both are from the eastern part of the county, which makes up the Republican base of the Assembly District (it includes Port Hueneme, Oxnard, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks and Moorpark). That could translate into a potential strength in the general election if they could win over some independents and Republicans based upon their experience and relationships they've formed during their service in nonpartisan local offices. On the other hand, it could be a disadvantage in the primary, given that Hodge's base is in the district's Democratic stronghold.
As I noted in an earlier post, decisions need to made rather quickly. With Hodge and Republican Sean Paroski already off and running, other potential candidates could find themselves in a significant hole if they wait more than another week or so to make up their minds.