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Longtime Rancho Cordova Councilman Ken Cooley will run for a suburban capital-area Assembly seat unless an incumbent legislator, Alyson Huber, moves into that district to qualify for the ballot.

Cooley, a Democrat, said he has notified Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez of his intention to run next year, if Huber does not, in the 8th Assembly District that stretches from Citrus Heights to the tiny communities of Herald and Clay, located south of Wilton.

"Our country needs strong representation -- and I would deliver on that," said Cooley, who has been a Rancho Cordova councilman since the city's incorporation in 2003. He served as mayor in 2005 and 2010.

No incumbent currently lives in the newly drawn 8th Assembly District, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by two percentage points. District voters favored Jerry Brown over Meg Whitman by seven percentage points in last year's gubernatorial election.

Huber, an El Dorado Hills Democrat whose current Assembly district was redrawn to tilt strongly to the right, has not announced plans to move into the 8th District seat.

Huber recently said that she might seek incumbent Rep. Dan Lungren's congressional seat next year.

Cooley has run twice before for the Legislature, losing both times - in January to Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, for a state Senate seat; and in 2002 to Katherine Maestas in a Democratic primary for an Assembly seat won by Alan Nakanishi, R-Lodi.

Cooley works as principal consultant to the state Senate Committee on Banking, Finance and Insurance.


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