BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The first week of 2022 was full of political intrigue here in Kern County, and this week begins with another big development.
Leticia Perez, 5th District Supervisor is officially launching her campaign as a Democratic candidate for the 35th State Assembly District, 17 News confirmed Monday. It is an announcement that has been months in the making.
Perez, who has sat on Kern’s Board of Supervisors since 2013, told 17 News about her intention to run for state Assembly back in August but was waiting for two things.
First, for incumbent Assemblymember Rudy Salas to make a run for Congress and to let the redistricting process play out. Salas announced his congressional bid back in October and quickly after, Perez said she wouldn’t seek re-election to Kern’s Board when her term ends in 2024.
In late December, State Assembly maps were finalized. The new 35th district splits down Bakersfield –putting most of the east portion of the city in this new district.
While this district shares the most land with Rudy Salas’ current boundaries, there are significant changes. Previously, it included a similar part of Bakersfield, but reached up above Hanford and encompassed much of Kings County. The new boundaries stop right above Delano and does not include Kings County.
Because the 35th district doesn’t contain Kings County, which is fairly red, the 35th district is slightly more blue than Salas’ current boundaries.
Perez won’t be running unchallenged. Weeks ago, Dr. Jasmeet Bains announced she is running for Salas’ Assembly seat. Bains, also a Democrat, is a Delano native and the medical director at Bakersfield Recovery Services.
Lastly, Perez’s announcement draws the question of what will happen to her seat on the Kern County Board of Supervisors. If she were to be elected to the Assembly, she would depart for Sacramento in 2023, leaving her seat vacant for a full year. That would mean Governor Gavin Newsom could appoint someone to fill that position for 12 months.
Perez is expected to make her official announcement Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Jefferson Park, located at 801 Bernard St.