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San Joaquin County Supervisor Leroy Ornellas has thrown his hat in the ring for a competitive state Senate seat up for grabs in 2012.

The Tracy Republican and longtime dairy farmer announced today plans to run for the newly drawn 5th Senate District seat. A four-point voter registration edge for Democrats is expected to make the district a top target.

"To get California working again, we can't afford any more bull in Sacramento," he said in a statement. "We need tough, principled legislators who'll focus on the real issues - jobs, economic development, infrastructure building, public safety, education and holding government strictly accountable for the money it's entrusted with."

Ornellas will face two current legislators in his bid for the San Joaquin Valley seat. Assemblyman Bill Berryhill, R-Ceres, and Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani, D-Livingston, have both announced plans to run in the 2012 primary.

Ornellas, whose family has run a dairy farm in the area since the 1930s, has served on the board of supervisors since 2002. He said in his campaign announcement that opposing higher taxes and pushing for the creation of a California State University campus in the county would be top priorities.

The lines of the seat, drawn by the Citizens Redistricting Commission, could still change. The Senate map has been targeted by a GOP-backed referendum drive and a lawsuit asking the courts to create new districts.

Interactive map: See your new California legislative and congressional districts
Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani launches state Senate run


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