Two veteran politicians who currently serve in the Assembly will compete for the 5th State Senate seat in the November election, and both are emphasizing their ties to San Joaquin County.
Democrat Cathleen Galgiani received 42,380 votes, or 41 percent, during last Tuesday's primary. Republican Bill Berryhill received 38,481 votes, or 37.2 percent.
Galgiani is currently finishing her third term in the 17th Assembly District and previously lived in Livingston. Earlier this year, she moved to a house in Stockton she already owned. She grew up in Stockton and was a 1982 Tokay High School graduate.
Berryhill is finishing up his second term as the 26th District assemblyman, which includes Victor, Lockeford, Clements, Morada and eastern Acampo. He has spent most of his life in Stanislaus County, but owns a ranch in Clements. He moved earlier this year to a house in Stockton.
Both campaigns agree the race will be unique because it involves two experienced, current lawmakers.
Galgiani's campaign manager, Tom Lawson, said voters will see a more vibrant debate because both candidates know how Sacramento works.
"It's a good conversation, because you should have a higher-level discussion and not get into campaign rhetoric," Lawson said.
Berryhill consultant Duane Dichiara said the voters will be more familiar with both candidates.
"More people know who they are, which is fine with us. A lot of people know them and trust them. Both campaigns will be funded. Both are reaching the attention of voters," he said.
The No. 1 issue Galgiani plans to focus on is the economy, Lawson said.
"That one will be the No. 1 for everyone, but especially Cathleen," he said. "The Central Valley has been hit substantially harder than the rest of the state as far as unemployment, so she is looking to create jobs."
One of Galgiani's focuses has been the high-speed rail, which will bring construction jobs to the Central Valley. She also has worked directly with homeowners through workshops that connected them with home lenders to help them stay in their homes, Lawson said.
Berryhill's campaign plans to focus on the two candidates' records, Dichiara said.
"We are going to continue talking about Bill's record and how he fits the district and Cathleen's record and how she might fit the district a little less," he said.
One of the big issues for Berryhill is stopping the early release of prisoners. He also plans to tackle the budget by reining in spending as opposed to passing new taxes.
"Bill is a fiscal conservative. No one can say that Cathleen is," Dichiara said. "If people care about jobs and the fiscal responsibility of government, we give them a pretty clear alternative."
Galgiani plans to continue target a variety of donors to fund the campaign.
"It's going to be a tough election, and we want to make sure we have all the resources to come out on top in November," she said.
For Berryhill, the fundraising will come from people who would like to see a change in Sacramento and more fiscal accountability, Dichiara said.
"A lot of our fundraising is from people who are in the valley and concerned about where the state is going. How many straws can get on the camels back before the camels back breaks?" Dichiara said.
While Galgiani did very well in San Joaquin County where she grew up, the campaign will be focused on getting her name out to voters in Stanislaus.
"We will do our best to reach out to voters there and tell them about some of the accomplishments Cathleen has done in her three terms and how she can best represent them in the state Senate," Lawson said.