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California Assemblywoman Julia Brownley announced Monday that she is running in the new 26th district, which will be hotly contested by both parties in November.

“I’m thrilled to announce my candidacy for Congress in a district I’ve represented for over five years,” the Democrat said in a statement. “It’s clear that we need to end the partisan gridlock in Washington and start representing the interests of the voters who elected us.”

Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett, who was the Democrats’ frontrunner before he dropped out of the race on Feb. 11, immediately endorsed Brownley. She faces three other Democrats and at least two Republicans, including state Sen. Tony Strickland, in the June 5 jungle primary.

In a statement, Bennett said Brownley’s values combined with “her proven fundraising ability and strong organizational support makes her the candidate best positioned to defeat Tony Strickland.”

Brownley lives in Santa Monica, which is well outside the Ventura County-based district — something at least one of her Democratic opponents’ campaigns has drawn attention to. The Brownley campaign noted in the opening paragraph of her announcement statement that she “currently represents over 50,000 voters in the new district, including Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Oak Park and Westlake Village.”

Brownley was an early endorser of Rep. Brad Sherman (D) in his race against Rep. Howard Berman (D) in the neighboring 30th district in the San Fernando Valley.

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