By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Cannella mulls Senate run
Ceres Mayor Anthony Cannella is exploring a run for the 12th Senate District as incumbent Jeff Denham prepares his departure.

Cannella, a fiscally conservative Republican, confirmed Monday that he has formed a campaign committee, a precursor to a declaration of a candidacy. But he said he has not made a decision whether to throw his hat in the ring.

"I haven't made a decision at this point - I'm really just looking at the scene, looking at the district and looking at my options," said Cannella, who runs his own firm, Northstar Engineering, Inc.

He expects to make a decision later this month or early July.

"Right now, quite frankly, my focus is on the city of Ceres. We've got a new budget coming up and we're going to have a budget study session. My focus right now is being mayor of Ceres. Once we're through that then I can focus a little more on this other opportunity."

The son of former state Assemblyman Sal Cannella was quoted by the Courier on Oct. 8, 2003 as saying, "Do I want to be a politician? No, I do not. The reason I'm running for City Council is because I believe I have something to offer the community. I'm not doing this as a stepping stone for other office."

He said Monday that he decided to explore a candidacy for state office because of California's fiscal problems.

"At some point the state of California has to be as fiscally responsible as local government," said Cannella. "The propositions all failed - which we knew they would - and now the state of California wants to come to local government and take more of our money. So at some point we've got to get some people that can add on one side and subtract on the other and decide whether can we do what we want to do. The city of Ceres has made very difficult choices and will continue to make difficult choices because like every single family in the Central Valley ... we all sit down and balance our budgets. Well you know what? We should expect the same thing from our government."

Cannella is, of course, familiar with the Stanislaus County portion of the district, and his engineering firm has done business in the Merced and Madera areas. But the district includes Los Banos, Dos Palos, portions of Monterey and San Benito counties, including San Juan Bautista, Hollister, Salinas, Soledad and King City.

"I'm meeting with folks and trying to understand if their issues are the same issues we're fighting for in the city of Ceres."

Denham cannot run for a third term, leaving the 12th District open in 2010. He is running for lieutenant governor.

Cannella, a lifelong Ceres resident, got his first taste of local government experience came when he was appointed to the Ceres Planning Commission in 1999. He has spent most of his political career unopposed. While he did face opposition for his first Ceres City Council run in November 2003, Cannella was unopposed for mayor in 2005 and 2007. He's unsure if any other Republicans will be running for the seat.

"I have a very wonderful life," said Cannella. "I have a great business. I have an unbelievable family, four kids right now, and I'm very happy and quite frankly I like being the mayor of Ceres. But at times duty calls."

Cannella said he's been tapping his father for advice in running for the state Senate. Sal Cannella was elected to the state Assembly after serving on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors. The two are on the opposite ends of political debate at times.

"The holidays get a little tenuous," joked Cannella.