Dutton set to become next Senate Republican leader

Sen. Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, says he has secured the support of Senate Republicans to be their next leader.

“Yes, I do have the unanimous support of the caucus,” Dutton said Wednesday. “We haven’t actually taken any formal action yet, because it wouldn’t be an immediate change in leadership.”

Dutton bested several other senators in the competition for the job.  Sens. Bob Huff, R-Walnut, Tony Strickland, R-Ventura, and Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Hills, had all reportedly  expressed an interest in the job. Current senate Republican Leader Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murieta, is expected to remain as leader through the current budget negotiations, Dutton said.

Dutton said that he had been actively talking to other members of the caucus since before Christmas. In recent days, he said, he received the support of  Huff and Strickland.

“We got together and decided I was the best one at this time,” Dutton said.

He added the Hollingsworth had been encouraging the caucus to make a decision soon.

“This wasn’t something that was done being Dennis’ back,” Dutton said. “This was done with Dennis’ full knowledge, support and encouragement.”

Hollingsworth terms out at the end of this year. However, some Senators have reportedly wanted him to go sooner, due to what some say is a poor fundraising performance on behalf of the Caucus. Senate Republicans face some key races needed to keep enough members to allow them to hold enough seats to keep Democrats from gaining a super-majority in the Senate, which would allow them to pass a budget without a single Republican vote.

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