Radanovich retirement shakes up valley GOP yet again

Rep. George Radanovich’s decision Tuesday to leave Congress shook up the Northern San Joaquin Valley’s GOP roster for the fourth time in two months, opening a door for State Sen. Jeff Denham of Atwater to drop his planned Assembly bid for a shot at Washington.

Denham factored into two of the shifts. He ended a long-planned run for Lieutenant Governor earlier this month to run for the 25th Assembly District, a race that would have required him to move to Modesto.

He now plans to run for Radanovich’s seat — with the incumbent's endorsement, according to Radanovich's retirement announcement this morning.

That's a boost to former Modesto City Councilwoman Janice Keating, who is running for the Assembly seat and faced a tough primary against Denham.

The dominoes started to fall in November when Sen. Dave Cogdill of Modesto announced that he would not seek re-election.

His decision prompted Assemblyman Tom Berryhill to seek Cogdill’s seat. Berryhill’s move led to Keating’s and Denham’s entry into the race for Berryhill’s district.

Now, others are considering campaigning for the 25th Assembly District.

"I'm receiving a lot of calls from people asking me to run," said Modesto City Councilwoman Kristin Olsen, who has worked in Sacramento for state lawmakers. "I just need to evaluate what is best for our community, what is best for my family, and how can I be most effective in serving the valley."

She had endorsed Denham in the Assembly race, and she views the Republican shake-up as a sign that change is coming to Sacramento.

“People are fed up and they want to see government run in such a way that it serves the citizens and that common-sense decisions are being made,” she said.

Bee Assistant City Editor Adam Ashton can be reached at 578-2366.