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Rubio_daughter.jpgThe primary special election to fill former Sen. Michael Rubio's seat will occur on May 21, Gov. Jerry Brown's office announced on Friday.

If none of the candidates win an outright majority, the two top vote getters will face off July 23, Brown's proclamation said.

Rubio's resignation two weeks ago to work at Chevron Corp. caught Sacramento by surprise and muddied the legislative waters in the State Senate. Democrats will be delayed in acting on their recently enshrined supermajority: Rubio's resignation, coupled with vacancies from former senators Gloria Negrete McLeod and Juan Vargas winning election to Congress, leave Democrats with 26 seats, one below the two-thirds threshold.

Based on voter registration statistics, Democrats are expected to hold the seat, though it remains unclear who will run.

Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, who was widely considered a contender for Rubio's old seat, has already said he does not intend to run, leaving several other Democratic possibilities from local government, including Shafter City Councilwoman Fran Florez, mother of the senator Rubio succeeded in 2010, Dean Florez.

The 16th District includes parts of Fresno, Kings, Kern and Tulare counties. The winner would finish the final 18-20 months of Rubio's term, and a different district, drawn by an independent remapping commission in 2011, will be used in the 2014 elections.

Questions continue to swirl around Rubio's departure. The Fair Political Practice Commission is considering an investigation into whether he improperly benefited from a campaign donor's help in business dealings and real estate transactions.

Related posts: California senator was business partner to oil exec who lent money for home

Oil exec involved with former Sen. Michael Rubio in real estate deals

PHOTO CREDIT: Former State Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Shafter, looks over the Senate Daily file with his daughter, Iliana, 4, at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Sept. 9, 2011, by Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo.


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