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Cogdill elected Senate Republican leader

SACRAMENTO — State Senate Republicans on Wednesday elected Modesto’s Dave Cogdill as their next leader, giving the San Joaquin Valley a monopoly on GOP power in the Legislature.

Cogdill — whose district includes Chowchilla and parts of Mariposa County — is expected to take over sometime this spring from Irvine’s Dick Ackerman, who is termed out at the end of the year.

GOP leadership of the Assembly is already in the hands of Clovis’ Mike Villines, who has held the post for more than a year. Republican leaders have less power than ruling Democrats, but will take on a key role in the ongoing fight over the state budget, which requires some GOP votes.