Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/27/2012 11:59:51 AM PDT

New districts and a revised elections system that allows candidates of the same party to compete in the general election are two new dynamics affecting this year’s elections for the state Legislature.

Here’s a summary of races affecting the Inland Valley, San Bernardino area and High Desert:

State Senate

Bill Emmerson vs. Melissa Ruth O’Donnell

The contest to represent the 23rd Senate District is a competition between a Republican incumbent and a real estate agent making a challenge from the Democratic side.

Emmerson was first elected to the upper house in 2010 after representing a Redlands-based district in the Assembly. He has said that his priorities include giving tax incentives to businesses that hire new employees, streamlining environmental regulations and limiting state spending.

O’Donnell practices real estate in Highland. Her platform includes a call to create a judicial foreclosure process in California that would require court hearings. She wants legislation to help entrepreneurs open small businesses and that attracts manufacturers to the district.

The 23rd Senate District includes communities in Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, Highland, Loma Linda, Mentone, Yucaipa, San Jacinto, Menifee, Lakeview, Lytle Creek, Wrightwood, Phelan, Lake Arrowhead, Running Springs and Big Bear City.

State Assembly

John Coffey vs. Tim Donnelly

The challenger, Coffey, is a Democrat and an educator who works with special needs students at Barstow Junior High School. His legislative proposals include consolidating California’s numerous school districts to reduce administrative costs, creating a Bank of California and environmental protections.

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