Sanger Democrat Amanda Renteria was soundly beaten last year in her bid to oust Hanford Republican David Valadao from Congress.
But that doesn’t mean the central San Joaquin Valley native and Washington, D.C., veteran is giving up on politics. With the 2014 election now behind her, Renteria is looking ahead to 2016 and considering the possibility of realigning her political world from Washington to Sacramento.
“How can I make a difference?” she said. “To be here versus on a plane each weekend (to and from Washington) is really compelling. I feel I can make more of an impact for the Central Valley in Sacramento.”
The target is obvious — Fresno Democrat Henry T. Perea’s 31st Assembly District seat.
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Perea is termed out. Renteria, 40, lives in the district, which covers western and southern parts of Fresno County. Democrats dominate the district, making it likely that a Democrat will win next year. And more than half of eligible voters are Hispanic, as is Renteria.
Another big advantage is the political makeup. In Sacramento, Renteria would almost certainly be in the majority, as Democrats control the Legislature. In Washington, she’d almost certainly be in the minority, as Republicans rule there.
Renteria recently spent a few days in Sacramento at the invitation of close the gap CA, an organization that seeks to recruit progressive women to run for office. The organization’s goal is winning 16 state legislative seats next year, and its website says the 31st District is on its target list.
While Renteria was in Sacramento, she had dinner with Perea, Assembly Member Rudy Salas of Bakersfield and other Assembly Democrats.
Locally, a lot of Democrats like Renteria, who has degrees from Stanford and Harvard and experience as a chief of staff on Capitol Hill. Even some rival Republicans who figure the 31st Assembly District will be represented by a Democrat say if that’s the case, Renteria would be a good choice.
None of this means Renteria is running — yet.
“That’s where my head is,” she said of the Assembly run. “Nothing is official.”
For now, she wants to continue talking with local community leaders to get their take on the region’s needs and to see “if I’m the right fit for it.”