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Cannella ready to run hard in quest for Senate
Other higher profile state and local campaigns last week overshadowed Anthony Cannella's race in the Republican primary election for the 12th Senate District. Because Cannella, the mayor of Ceres, was unopposed for the GOP nomination, many voters may not have paid the election much attention.

It was so much of a snoozer, Cannella spent election night on June 8 camping with his wife and children in the Lake Shasta area. He learned of the vote count through a website and internet connection.

It was also a yawner on the Democratic side where Cannella's opponent come fall, Anna Caballero, also was unchallenged for her nomination. Cannella and Caballero will face off in the Nov. 2 general election. Caballero is a Democrat presently serving as a California state assemblywoman in the 28th District. Prior to her election in 2006 she was the mayor of Salinas.

"We're going to ramp it up and be more aggressive," said Cannella of the campaign heading into fall.

Cannella received 25,536 votes and Caballero received 29,174 votes. The tilt is not surprising given the fact that voter registration in the 12th Senate District favors Democrats. Only Democrats were able to vote for Democrats last week and only Republicans could vote for Cannella. Cannella looks at those numbers and says he's encouraged.

"Once I have a chance to get out my message to the Democrats I think I will have a great chance to swing things my way," said Cannella.

Although the district was gerrymandered to favor Democrats, Jeff Denham, a Republican, captured the seat in 2002 and was re-elected in 2006.

State term limits prevent Denham from running for a third term. Instead he is running for the 19th Congressional District.

The 12th Senate District includes the western portion of Stanislaus County, including Ceres, Empire, Newman, Patterson, Turlock, Keyes, Grayson, Westley, and west and south Modesto. It also includes all of Merced County, some of Madera County, the eastern portion of Monterey County and some of San Benito County.

A fiscal conservative, Cannella said he plans to make his campaign theme one of job creation, restoring fiscal sanity to the state budget process and streamlining regulation.

"I'm going to focus on the things that are most important to me and the things that are most important to me are putting people back to work," said Cannella last week. "And so what I'm going to focus on is just that - what can we do to change the economic climate in California so we can get out of the 20 percent plus unemployment rate in the Central Valley and over 12 percent unemployment rate in the state of California. We're beating everybody when it comes to negatives in the state and I think it's the way we're running our government."

Cannella said he's raised about $300,000 for his race.

Cannella, a lifelong Ceres resident, got his first taste of local government experience 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 2003, Cannella was unopposed for mayor in 2005 and 2007.