Ex-assemblywoman to face party activist
James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/13/2011 10:02:37 PM PST

High Desert voters will go to the polls Tuesday to choose their next state senator.

They’ll choose between former Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, a Republican, and Darren Parker, a longtime Democratic activist. Both are Lancaster residents and both are vying to replace former Sen. George Runner – Sharon Runner’s husband – who left his 17th District State Senate post after winning a seat on the state Board of Equalization.

The 17th District includes parts of Ventura, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, as well as a tiny piece of Kern County. In San Bernardino County, the district covers Apple Valley, Adelanto, Victorville, Hesperia, Wrightwood and Phelan.

This is not the first time Sharon Runner has tried following her husband into office.

George Runner served in the Assembly from 1996 until 2002. Sharon Runner followed, representing the same seat from 2002 through 2008.

When term limits prevented Sharon Runner from seeking another term, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed her to the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, a position that came with a six-figure salary.

Trying to end the Runners’ political dynasty is Parker, the chairman of the California Democratic Party’s African- American Caucus, a vice chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and now a general partner with his own strategic consulting company, The Parker Group.

Parker has criticized George Runner for leaving his Senate seat two years early. Parker has pledged to serve his full term if elected.

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