Lodi Mayor Alan Nakanishi formally announced his candidacy Tuesday for the 10th Assembly District seat being vacated next year by incumbent Anthony Pescetti, R-Rancho Cordova.
A 30-year Lodi resident, Nakanishi will make his third attempt at state office since 1998. He placed second to Pescetti in a field of nine Republican candidates in the 1998 primary for what was then an open Assembly seat.
Last year, Nakanishi sought the open 5th State Senate District seat that was vacated by Patrick Johnston, D-Stockton, due to term limits. In a campaign that proved to be a nail-biter, Mike Machado, D-Linden, edged out Nakanishi in an election that was so close it wasn't decided until three weeks after the November election.
Nakanishi will use the name recognition he's received during the last two elections to seek the Assembly seat. Under newly designed boundaries, the district will encompass Lodi, Woodbridge, most of Acampo and Rancho Cordova, part of Herald, Wilton and Elk Grove and all of Rancho Murieta, El Dorado Hills and Amador County, he said.
After the 2002 general election, the 10th district will no longer include Galt, Thornton, Victor, Lockeford, Clements and the area of Acampo generally east of Bruella Road.
Nakanishi will base his candidacy on his knowledge of the medical field through his career as an ophthalmologist and his experience in city government. He was elected to the Lodi City Council in November 1998 and became mayor last December.
Nakanishi said he will also discuss Lodi's success as a municipal electricity provider during the campaign, although he maintains there is room in California for municipal utilities and investor-owned utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric Co.
Another goal is to trim spending and not raise taxes, he said.
Nakanishi disputed a rumor floating in Republican circles that he planned to oppose Pescetti for the Republican nomination next year because Pescetti voted for the Democratically backed state budget.
Pescetti helped break a partisan stalemate in July after being offered funding for several projects in his district, including money for Lodi's planned public safety building and Galt's new police station.
Nevertheless, Nakanishi said he developed Republican support for Pescetti's seat before the assemblyman announced Friday that he won't run again.
"I do have a (campaign) team," Nakanishi said.
Nakanishi, 61, is confident he'll be able to serve the full six years allowed by the state's term limits law.
"Six years is easy," he said.
Pescetti will not seek a third term next year because he wants to stay home more with his family. He insisted that that Nakanishi's rumored opposition had nothing to do with his decision.
Pescetti will decide, probably this week, whether to seek the Republican nomination for the state insurance commissioner's post.
He has also applied for a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The most recent opening has been filled, but his application will be on file for the next opening, Pescetti said.
"My application is probably in the post office in Washington," Pescetti said with a chuckle, acknowledging the delay in mail at Washington post offices due to the ongoing anthrax scare.
The filing period for declaration of intent for state legislative offices continues through Nov. 7 in most districts. In districts like the 10th Assembly District, where the incumbent in not running, the filing period will be extended until Nov. 13, said Justine Garibay of the Sacramento County Voter Registration and Elections office.
Once the deadline for the declaration of intent filing period is completed, candidates have until Dec. 7 to collect signatures in lieu of the filing fee.
Aside from Nakanishi, no one has filed a declaration of intent to run in the 10th District, according to elections officials from San Joaquin and Sacramento counties.
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