Capitol Alert

Sharon Runner prepares for California Senate special election

Then-Assembly Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, and Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, listen to floor debate about a levee bill in 2006.
Then-Assembly Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, and Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, listen to floor debate about a levee bill in 2006. The Sacramento Bee

Former Republican state lawmaker Sharon Runner on Monday released a list of high-profile endorsements as she prepares to run for the Antelope Valley Senate seat coming vacant when Sen. Steve Knight officially takes his place in Congress.

Runner, 60, represented much of the area after winning a Senate special election in 2011, and said she has received the backing of Knight, along with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Assemblymen Tom Lackey and Scott Wilk and former Assemblyman Cameron Smyth.

Knight is expected to relinquish the Senate seat by early next week, meaning a special election would take place in March, and a possible runoff in May. Runner, who will formally enter the race once it’s called, said she plans to reach out to other potential candidates and leaders in the community in the coming weeks.

“My goal right now is trying to get all of the Republicans out of the race,” Runner told The Bee.

“What’s truly important is that we send someone to Sacramento as quickly as possible to combat the job-killing over-regulation, over-taxation and the dangerous situation created by early release of felons by Prop 47 and realignment,” she added in a written statement.

Earlier this month, former Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly said he would not relocate his family to run for the 21st Senate seat. Runner, one of several candidates weighing a bid, is currently working part-time for the Senate GOP Caucus and also has continued her consulting duties.

She spent six years in the state Assembly before being elected to the Senate, filling the seat of her husband, George Runner, who left to serve on the state Board of Equalization. In February 2012, Sharon Runner announced that she would not seek reelection after a rare autoimmune disease required a life-saving double lung transplant procedure.

Runner said she spent considerable time in an intensive-care unit, but described her recovery as a “miracle,” noting she enjoys hiking, zip-lining and riding roller coasters with her grandchildren. “As my doctors say, I am a walking miracle,” she said.

Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago.

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