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Let the musical chairs begin again — Inland Empire style.

When San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt decided not to seek another term, Democratic Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod of Chino slid into the race, setting up a clash with Republican Assemblyman Curt Hagman of Chino Hills.

The maneuvering has provided yet another opening for Sen. Norma Torres of Pomona, who just last year won a special election to fill the seat left vacant by Negrete McLeod's elevation. In a statement, Torres talked about moving up the ranks of local politics, from serving on the city council to becoming mayor and then being elected to the Assembly.

"In Congress I will continue my fight for better jobs, to protect families from the fallout from the housing crisis, to improve local transportation infrastructure, protect Medicare and Social Security and to help Ontario Airport regain its footing as a hub of regional economic activity," Torres said.

Her election to the 35th district would set off a mad dash for the redrawn 20th Senate District, which mostly overlaps the expiring 32nd Senate District that Torres represents. Possible contenders are Democratic Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown of San Bernardino and Democratic Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez of Pomona, who won a special election to succeed Torres. Ontario Mayor Paul Leon, who ran as an independent when he lost to Rodriguez last summer — after falling to Torres as a Republican — may also give it another go. Another possibility is former Assemblywoman Wilmer Amina Carter, D-Rialto.

PHOTO: Sen. Norma Torres, D-Pomona


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