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20110321_ha_senate_quake5586.JPGGOP Sen. Sam Blakeslee has started publicly signaling that he might not run for re-election this year.

The San Luis Obispo Republican told Bee sister paper The San Luis Obispo Tribune that his decision is tied to the fate of the new district maps drawn by the independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Democrats now hold a 16-point registration edge over Republicans in the central coast swing seat Blakeslee won in a 2010 special election. But critics of the new Senate maps have collected hundreds of thousands of voter signatures in an attempt to ask voters to reject the districts next fall. If the referendum qualifies, the decision of whether to use the newly drawn Senate map this year will be left up to the state Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hold a hearing next week on the issue.

The former Assembly GOP leader said if the current maps prevail, he is unlikely to run for a second term in what is now the 17th Senate District.

"I want my community to understand that by making this decision, I'm not walking away from a fight," Blakeslee told The Tribune. "But I'm not willing to lose the entire last year in office in (a vain) pursuit of office. I'm 100 percent engaged to make sure this last year is the most impactful as it possibly can be."

Blakeslee's decision not to run, which has been rumored for some time, would ease the path for Senate Democrats to come one seat closer to a two-thirds majority in the upper house. The only prominent declared candidate in the race so far is Assemblyman Bill Monning, D-Carmel, who announced in August his own bid for the upper house.

Read the full Tribune story at this link.

RELATED POSTS:
Interactive map: See your new California legislative and congressional districts

PHOTO CREDIT: Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo at a March 2011 legislative hearing. Hector Amezcua, Sacramento Bee.



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