BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — In a swift reversal, and with the June primary election just three months away, State Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) announced she will drop her bid for the 14th senate district centered in Fresno and run in the 16th district instead.

The shift brings huge implications for the political state-of-play in the Central Valley.

“Whether in 14 or 16, it doesn’t matter, I’m a daughter of the Central Valley,” Hurtado said. “I want to continue to represent this district and I’m ready to do it.”

The newly-drawn 16th senate district includes a portion of Bakersfield and stretches up to the Fresno County city of Kingsburg. It’s most similar to Hurtado’s current senate lines, but statewide redistricting saw her home city of Sanger placed instead in the new 14th.

“Senate District 14, it so happens that my family home is in it, but it’s a completely new district so it’s just tough,” she said. “It’s like leaving my home or leaving my district.”

Hurtado’s original bid for the 14th put her up against another Democratic incumbent, Anna Caballero. At the first California Democratic Party endorsement meeting, Caballero received 76% of the votes, putting her on the fast track to the party’s official nod over Hurtado in 2022.

“My politics are in line with the Central Valley, I am an independent voice,” Hurtado said. “It didn’t shock me not to get the endorsement, it didn’t play a role [in the decision to switch districts].”

Instead, she said the decision came down to not wanting to leave behind the people in her current district and wanting to finish the work she started here.

“There is just a lot at stake for the Central Valley, now more than ever. We’ve always been left behind when it comes to resources and attention.”

With five other candidates who have already declared for the 16th seat, Hurtado is now joining the Central Valley’s most crowded race.