An expected but late entry into the race for a state Senate seat that serves much of greater Fallbrook area has touched off a rough-and-tumble sprint among three or more Republican rivals.
A recent decision by Assemblyman Joel Anderson to plunge into a race for state Senate has sharpened the political lines and intensified the finger pointing leading up to the June 8 primary. The primary campaign has taken on the tone of a no-holds-barred, winner-take-all contest.
“It’s going to be three months of craziness,” predicted Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone, who entered the race about a year ago.
Because of the lopsided political composition of the Senate district, voters’ selection of the Republican candidate is a key juncture in the campaign.
In announcing his candidacy last week, Anderson (R-La Mesa) became a major presence in the race for the 36th District seat that Dennis Hollingsworth (R-Murrieta) must vacate in November because of state political term limits.
Anderson is now squared off against Stone and Kenneth Dickson, a Murrieta school board trustee. A potential second San Diego County candidate, Greg Stephens of El Cajon, has taken initial steps to enter the race.
All of the candidates are touting their accomplishments and conservative beliefs. Anderson’s fundraising prowess is expected to overpower his foes.
Anderson may have entered the race as the front runner, but the two-term representative carries the baggage of a recent state Fair Political Practices Commission investigation and fine.
In turn, Anderson has spotlighted the use of a Riverside County vehicle by Stone’s sister in her role as an office volunteer.
Meanwhile, Dickson portrays himself as a political outsider who has avoided fundraising scrutiny and intense media attention.
“It’s going to be a difficult time (at the polls) for any professional politician,” Dickson said during a recent telephone interview.
The Senate district takes in Fallbrook, Temecula, Murrieta, and many other inland cities and unincorporated communities. It is home to more than 850,000 residents and covers portions of Riverside and San Diego counties.
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