Less than two weeks after Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) decided to run for the Senate seat vacated by former Senator Jeff Stone (R-La Quinta), several area candidates have entered the race.
At stake is Assemblywoman Melendez’s 67th Assembly District, which covers a large part of Riverside County including Lake Elsinore, Murrieta, and Hemet. The district is largely Republican, with Melendez beating Democrat Michelle Singleton by over 30,000 votes, 61% to 39%, during the 2018 Assembly election.
Earlier this week Lake Elsinore Mayor Steve Manos announced his intention to run for the seat. Mayor Manos, a UCLA educated Republican real estate broker, who was elected to the Lake Elsinore City Council in 2012 and then elected Mayor of Lake Elsinore in 2016, has a strong track record as a Republican. During his announcement to run he touched on several California issues.
“We have a record of improving roads, building housing, attacking the homeless problems, and getting justice for victims of crimes through aggressive law and code enforcement,” stated Mayor Manos. “These are all problems that Sacramento can’t seem to figure out.
It’s not enough to tell people with better ideas to move if they don’t like their State government. The pendulum has swung to far under single party rule. We have to rebuild the Republican Party as a common sense, big party, big ideas movement. That’s what I intend to do.”
On Wednesday another Republican put in his name, Canyon Lake Councilman Jeremy Smith. Smith, who attended Vanguard University, was elected to the Canyon Lake City Council in 2018, beating three other candidates. He was also elected to the Council along with his father, Larry Smith
“I’m running for State Assembly because I am tired of watching my friends and neighbors move out of our beautiful state because California is unaffordable,” announced Councilman Smith. “As your next Assemblyman, I will fight to restore the middle class and bring economic prosperity to Riverside County.”
As no major Democratic challenger is expected in the largely red district, the race is expected to come down between youth and experience. Smith, who is 31, is still in his first elected office, but has also worked for Congressional and Senate campaigns. Manos has more elected experience, but between his previous occupation and his elected positions, he is not as well known throughout the district.
There is still a chance more politicians may enter the race, as well as the chance than Assemblywoman Melendez doesn’t become Senator, whereas she will most likely run for Assembly in the district again in 2020.
With tight races across the state being projected for 2020, the 67th district is a rare shoo-in victory for Republicans, and whoever the party candidate becomes in March is almost guaranteed victory in November.
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