PALMDALE – Mayor Jim Ledford announced to local media Monday morning that he’s forming an exploratory committee to evaluate his candidacy for the 21st state Senate District seat soon to be vacated by Sen. Steve Knight, R-Antelope Valley.
Mayor Ledford said the committee will examine his viability as a candidate by communicating with individuals in the Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita Valley and Victor Valley communities to assess all aspects of a potential campaign.
“Today’s announcement is really to respond to what I’ve been receiving as lots of inquiries into what my intentions might be, what I’m looking to do,” he told members of the local media. “So I felt that the best next step is to actually get some input from individuals from all communities that are to be represented in the district.”
Stating that the scope of common ground for District 21 communities is the High Desert, Ledford explained that “we’ll be looking for more of a definition of what binds us all as a district and what our objectives are going to be in a potential campaign.”
The mayor introduced supporters of his exploratory committee who were present at the announcement, including Dr. Abdallah S. Farrukh, chair of the Antelope Valley Hospital Board; Kamal Al-Khatib, president of the American Islamic Institute of the Antelope Valley; Shawny Barcelona, associate broker at Century 21; and Palmdale City Councilman Steven D. Hofbauer.
Councilman Hofbauer said he supports Ledford for the Senate District 21 seat because he represents the best interests of the community.
“He listens to everybody,” Hofbauer said. “Jim does what’s best for the city, and Jim will do what’s best for the district. So that’s why I’m behind Jim Ledford.”
Ledford said he would announce his decision to run sometime in December after carefully evaluating his potential to run in the 21st State Senate District race.
State Sen. Knight was elected in the recent 2014 General Election to replace retiring Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, in the 25th Congressional District.
According to the state’s Election Code, the governor must call for a special election within 14 days of a vacancy in the legislature.
Knight is scheduled to begin his new term in Congress in January 2015, and county officials will need to hold an election at least 126 days after Knight’s resignation, and no more than 140 days thereafter, according to the state’s Election Code.
Speculation has been circulating with local media that Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris is also keeping his eye on the state Senate 21st District race. However, like Mayor Ledford, Parris has yet to declare his official intent to run.
About the authorJim E. Winburn is freelance reporter covering news of public interest.