Political Notebook

San Luis Obispo

John Laird, a former Democratic assemblyman seeking to replace Abel Maldonado in the state Senate, has opened a campaign office in San Luis Obispo.

The office opened Tuesday at 1404 Broad St.

Laird also announced the support of Rep. Lois Capps, D-San Luis Obispo, and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, who once represented the Central Coast in the Legislature.

Maldonado resigned last month after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him lieutenant governor.

The resignation set off two special elections for the 15th District state Senate seat. A special primary is scheduled June 22 and, if nobody wins a majority, a special runoff election will take place Aug. 17.

So far, Laird and Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, have been qualified to run for the Senate seat.

Two others also have filed papers, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel — businessman Jim Fitzgerald of Nipomo and Libertarian Mark Hinkle of Santa Clara. Fitzgerald ran for the state Senate two years ago against Maldonado, losing 2-1.

The 15th Senate District covers southern Silicon Valley, portions of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, all of San Luis Obispo County and a portion of northern Santa Barbara County.

— Bob Cuddy

Cal Poly

The Cal Poly College Republicans group has endorsed San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Katcho Achadjian in the race for the 33rd District in the state Assembly.

“Katcho has conservative values and positions that are in line with the political beliefs of our members, as well as having an invested interest in the student populations of Cal Poly and Cuesta,” said Eric Blank, president of Cal Poly College Republicans.

Blank said Achadjian “plac(ed) emphasis on spending tax dollars in classrooms instead of Sacramento offices.” That, he said, “will enable the next generation of wage earners to be productive and ready to take on the new jobs that will be created from business-friendly policies.”

Club members interviewed several candidates before making their choice.

Achadjian is seeking to replace Sam Blakeslee in the Assembly. Blakeslee — who cannot run again because of term limits — is running for state Senate.

Other Republican candidates in the Assembly race are Paso Robles City Councilman Fred Strong, former Santa Maria Planning Commissioner Etta Waterfield and San Luis Obispo financial planner Matt Kokkonen.

Santa Maria City Councilwoman Hilda Zacarias is the lone Democrat in the race.

Paul Polson of Arroyo Grande is the Libertarian candidate.

— Bob Cuddy