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Cannella ready to throw hat in Assembly ring
Ceres Mayor Anthony Cannella came close Thursday to saying he's running for the state Senate seat being vacated by Jeff Denham without formally announcing that he is a candidate.

He is expects to make his formal announcement on Oct. 21.

A statement was released by Kevin Spillane, a spokesman for the Anthony Cannella for Senate 2010 Exploratory Committee in response to Assemblywoman Anna Caballero's announcement that she's a candidate for Denham's 12th Senate District.

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

Caballero, who was elected to the 28th Assembly District in November of 2006, is a lawyer and previously she served as mayor of Salinas.

"We look forward to a vigorous debate on the issues and the different visions that Anthony Cannella and Anna Caballero have for Senate District 12 after Mayor Cannella officially announces his candidacy," said Spillane. "But one thing is already clear: the people of the 12th District simply can't afford Anna Caballero in the California Senate."

He said the district, hit hard by the poor economy and plagued by the highest home foreclosure and unemployment rates in the nation, cannot afford Caballero's support of tax increases. Spillane said "liberal Assemblywoman Anna Caballero hasn't helped ease the suffering - she's just added to it. When people can't even afford their mortgages, Assemblywoman Caballero voted to take more money out of their pockets by supporting the largest tax increase in state history. Thanks to Anna Caballero, the car tax was nearly doubled and income taxes and the sales tax were increased. During her tenure in the Assembly, Mrs. Caballero has supported higher gas taxes, higher utility taxes and voted to cost consumers more by adding surcharges for everything from cars to grocery bags."

Caballero, he said, has supported unbalanced state budgets since coming to the Assembly "that have only compounded the state's budgetary problems."

Her record in the Assembly has earned an "F" rating by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and scores ranging from only 13 to 17 percent from the California Taxpayers Association.

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.

Cannella is 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.

The conservative Republican has earned the endorsements of Denham, Senator Dave Cogdill, Assemblymen Tom Berryhill and Bill Berryhill and Senate Republican Leader Dennis Hollingsworth and the entire Senate Republican Caucus.