Kern County Democrat makes bid for Michael Rubio's seat

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Fran Florez wants to be your next state senator.

The veteran Kern County Democrat announced her candidacy Friday for the 16th District Senate seat vacated last month by Michael Rubio, who took a private-sector job with oil giant Chevron.

Florez is a Shafter City Council member. She lost two recent races for the state Assembly - 2008 against Republican Danny Gilmore and 2010 against Republican David Valadao.

The 2010 election was the same one that saw Rubio elected to the Senate seat that Florez now seeks to fill.

"I'M IN!" #SD16 Elex less than 70 days out: Mon (TBA) in Fresno; standing w/my loyal supporters! #559Vote #CaLeg

Fran Florez (@Florez4Valley) March 15, 2013

The same Senate seat - which encompasses parts of Kern, Kings, Tulare and Fresno counties - was held by Fran Florez's son, Dean Florez, D-Shafter, before he termed out and gave way to Rubio.

Fran Florez is also a former member of the California High-Speed Rail Authority board.

John Estrada, a Republican from Fresno, and Andy Vidak, a Republican from Hanford, have also jumped into the race, according to the Visalia Times-Delta newspaper.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a special election May 21 for the 16th Senate District seat. A special runoff election, if needed, will be July 23.