State

Tuolumne County supervisor entering Assembly race

A third woman with a background steeped in local government is joining the race to succeed Republican Tom Berryhill in the state Assembly.

Tuolumne County Supervisor Teri Murrison announced this week that she's entering the race, preparing to run in the GOP primary against Modesto City Councilwoman Kristin Olsen and former Modesto Councilwoman Janice Keating.

Murrison cited frustration with Sacramento giving short shrift to cities and counties when lawmakers craft budgets and set their priorities.

She said she was moved to run when state Sen. Dave Cogdill of Modesto announced in November that he would not seek re-election, and Berryhill opted to compete for Cogdill's seat.

Prior to that, Murrison had been preparing her own re-election bid to the Board of Supervisors.

"I found that my finger was pointing back at me, there was an empty seat. I had a passion to see things change in Sacramento. I had to make good on my feelings and concerns."

Murrison was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2006. She previously worked for the Merced County Association of Governments, a transportation planning agency. She also worked as a consultant to nonprofit groups and government agencies, helping them apply for grants.

She could benefit if Keating and Olsen split votes in Stanislaus County, which is home to a little more than half of the 244,600 voters in the 25th Assembly District. The others live in four foothill counties and Madera County.

"There are plenty of good people in all those counties," said Joan Clendenin, vice chairwoman of the Stanislaus County Republican Central Committee. "It'll be interesting to see how that plays out."

The filing deadline for the race is March 17.

"At 5 p.m. on that date, we'll know what the landscape is and we can start making our decisions then," Clendenin said.

Bee Assistant City Editor Adam Ashton can be reached at aashton@modbee.com or 578-2366.

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