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SharonRunner.JPGFormer Republican Assemblywoman Sharon Runner said today that she will run for the state Senate seat formerly held by her husband, Republican George Runner.

"I'm running. I want to help California get back on track again," she said.

George Runner, of Lancaster, resigned his 17th Senate District Seat yesterday in advance of being sworn in to the state Board of Equalization post he won in November.

Sharon Runner confirmed her plans after stepping down today from the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, a post Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed her to in 2009. Her term was set to expire Jan. 1.

Sharon Runner served in the 36th Assembly District, another seat previously held by her husband, from 2002 to 2008. She said in a statement announcing her candidacy that her Assembly experience and long ties to the region made her "uniquely qualified to serve it in the state Senate."

The Lancaster Republican, who has been diagnosed with a rare lung disease, said today her medical treatment has been successful and she no longer needs a lung transplant.

"My lungs are much better," she said, noting that she has taken no sick days during her time on the unemployment insurance appeals board.

Two current state legislators who represent overlapping districts -- Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Palmdale, and Assemblyman Steve Knight, R-Lancaster -- said today they would not run for the seat.

"I took some time with my staff and my family and we decided that I am not going to run in the special and just wait and see what happens with redistricting," said Smyth.

Both endorsed Runner's candidacy. Smyth called Runner a good friend who has his full support.

"She will hit the ground running and join our effort to reduce taxes, ease government regulation, and defend personal freedoms," Knight added in a statement.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has called a Feb. 15 special primary election for the seat. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to an April 19 runoff. Voters in the 28th Senate District will also go to the polls those dates to fill the seat of late Democratic Sen. Jenny Oropoeza, who died in October.

The 17th Senate District includes parts of Kern, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

PHOTO CREDIT: Assembly Member Sharon Runner, listens to Mexican President Felipe Calderón speak to a joint session of the California Assembly and Senate at the state Capitol, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008. (Sacramento Bee file photo / Brian Baer)



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