State Senate 21: Runner seeks to reclaim seat

State Senate 21: Runner seeks to reclaim seat

sharon-runnerSharon Runner, a former High Desert state lawmaker and “walking miracle,” is asking voters to send her back to the California Senate.

After declining to seek reelection in 2012, due to a life-threatening autoimmune disease, Runner was replaced by fellow Republican Steve Knight. Last November, Knight won his campaign for the 25th Congressional District, creating a vacancy in the 21st Senate District.

Healthy and ready to get back to Sacramento, Runner announced Wednesday her campaign to reclaim her old seat.

“I’ve truly been moved by the outpouring of support from friends and colleagues in local government, community leadership and most importantly from my family,” she said in a statement. “In November, voters destroyed the Democrats’ supermajority, giving Republicans the ability to block tax increases that many liberals are hoping to enact on items such as gasoline and services that would devastate local families. We must maintain our conservative voting bloc.”

Sharon Runner: Beloved lawmaker & ‘walking miracle’

scottwilk_portrait2013In 2011, Runner won a special election to replace her husband, George, who won a seat on the State Board of Equalization. But her tenure in the state Senate abruptly ended the following year, when she underwent a successful double-lung transplant at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

“I’m a walking miracle because people decided their child, their daughter, or she decided that she was going to help other people live,” Runner told CBS2’s Lisa Sigell in 2012 about the lung donor who aided her fight against Scleroderma. “I’m just having to deal with a different set of challenges. You take it one day at a time and realize you’re so blessed to be able to be here and to share the joy.”

According to the Scleroderma Foundation, “Scleroderma, or systemic sclerosis, is a chronic connective tissue disease generally classified as one of the autoimmune rheumatic diseases. The word ‘scleroderma’ comes from two Greek words: ‘sclero’ meaning hard, and ‘derma’ meaning skin. Hardening of the skin is one of the most visible manifestations of the disease.”

Since her successful transplant, Runner has assisted the Senate Republican Caucus on a part-time basis with outreach activities.

Runner clears the GOP field

Runner is expected to easily cruise to victory in the March 17th primary. If no candidate claims 50 percent-plus-one vote, the race will head to a runoff on May 19.

With the support and endorsements of such California Republicans as Knight, U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Assemblymen Tom Lackey and Scott Wilk, Runner easily could prevent a run-off, just as she did in 2011.

Runner’s announcement has cleared the field of other major contenders who were considering the race. Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris, who explored a campaign of his own, has thrown his support to Runner. Other local officials backing Runner are: Lancaster Vice Mayor Marvin Crist, Santa Clarita Councilman Dante Acosta, Castaic Councilman John Kunak and Antelope Valley Transportation Authority Chairman and Supervisorial Field Deputy Norm Hickling.

It is unclear whether Victorville businessman Sal Chavez or Hesperia City Councilman Eric Schmidt, both of whom had already launched campaigns, will continue their bid to succeed Knight.

Democrat Star Moffatt campaigns for seat

One candidate expected to continue in the race is Star Moffatt, a Democrat who lost to Knight in 2012. Democrats now hold an edge in voter registration, which could help a lone Democrat reach a run-off.

The 21st Senate District includes the San Bernardino County communities of Adelanto, Apple Valley, Hesperia and Victorville and the Los Angeles County communities of Lancaster, Palmdale, unincorporated Antelope Valley and the Lakes Communities, along with portions of the Santa Clarita Valley.

Technically, Runner represented the 17th Senate District from 2011-2012. The numbering changed with the 2012 redistricting. When she represented the 36th Assembly District from 2002-2008, it was the first time that a husband and wife had served concurrently in the California Legislature. The couple celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary earlier this week.

“Never thought either of us would serve our state and now it seems I am running again to serve the public,” Runner posted on her Facebook page.

State Senate District 21 voter registration numbers:

  • Democrat: 38.3 percent;
  • Republican: 35.7 percent;
  • Decline to State: 20.2 percent.

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