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It's looking more and more likely that former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg will seek the newly drawn 27th Senate District.

The Sherman Oaks businessman fueled ongoing speculation about his plans in public comments this week, telling the Los Angeles Daily News that the Southern California swing seat is "perfectly suited to me."

"If the lines stay the way they are, I am certainly very interested in running," he told The Bee Tuesday.

Hertzberg's entry into the race would set up a challenge with Sen. Fran Pavley, a liberal Democrat known for her work on environmental issues. That would mean bucking Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who has already thrown his support behind the incumbent Agoura Hills Democrat.

Hertzberg said Tuesday that he thinks he would be a better fit for the new district, which includes areas he represented during his time in the Assembly.

"It's a moderate district. It's a district with a lot of small business that are interested in the jobs and the economy," he said, adding: "I just think it's a time when economically we're faced with all these challenges that we've got to shift focus a little bit and really work on the economy and make California strong again."

Hertzberg said he is likely to make a final decision once he has a better sense of whether the maps drawn by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission will be used. Opponents of the new maps submitted more than 700,000 referendum petition signatures last year in hopes of blocking the lines. The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments today on what to do if the measure qualifies.

Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, is also considered a possible candidate for the swing seat if GOP Sen. Tony Strickland runs for Congress as expected.

Voters in at least two other Senate districts could see same-party battles between two high-profile Democrats this year. Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, and Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda, are planning to square off in the East Bay 9th Senate District seat. Down in Southern California, Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada-Flintridge, is said to be mulling a run against incumbent Sen. Carol Liu, also of La Cañada-Flintridge.



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