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Juan Vargas has long yearned to be a congressman, and he'll have his chance next year in a newly redrawn district that sprawls along the state's border with Mexico from the Pacific Ocean to Arizona.

A former state assemblyman, Democrat Vargas was elected to the state Senate just last year after a bruising primary battle with then-Assemblywoman Mary Salas. He defeated her by just 22 votes. His 40th Senate District overlaps with virtually all of the congressional district now being drawn by an independent redistricting commission.

Bob Filner, the veteran congressman who now represents the 51st Congressional District, announced this week that he would run for mayor of San Diego rather than seek re-election in the newly redrawn district. Vargas once challenged Filner, and the duel between the two was particularly heated and personal.

If Vargas goes to Congress, he would have to resign from the Senate, setting up a special election for his Senate seat in 2013.

The San Diego Union-Tribune's Michael Gardner has the story.



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