State Senator Not Running for Open California Seat

Posted December 27, 2011 at 1:30pm

National Democrats were dealt a blow today, losing a top recruit in a competitive open seat in California.

State Sen. Michael Rubio announced he will not run for the 21st district, leaving the party without its highly touted candidate for the new Central Valley-based seat created in redistricting.

In a statement, Rubio said that he and his wife recently had a baby who was born with Down syndrome.

“It would be easy to continue my candidacy for Congress with thoughts of being engaged in the difficult issues that face our nation today,” Rubio said in a statement. “But my family needs me more today than Congress does.”

The race between Rubio and state Assemblyman David Valadao (R), another young rising star in the state, was expected to be among the closest contests in the state. The district was carried by President George W. Bush in 2004, President Barack Obama in 2008, and in 2010 by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R).

One possible replacement for Rubio could be former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, who had reportedly considered running earlier this year. Florez is a former mentor to Rubio, who said today he will continue serving in Sacramento.