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LEADER ROB? Conservative State Sen. Rob Hurtt...

LEADER ROB? Conservative State Sen. Rob Hurtt (R-Garden Grove) acknowledges he hopes to oust moderate Ken Maddy as GOP Senate leader. . . . But with just 14 Senate Republicans, each vote is critical, and it could all come down to today’s special election in the 4th Senate District. Redding conservative Maurice Johannessen, backed financially by Hurtt, is running neck-and-neck with Maddy-backed moderate Bev Hansen.

SECOND THOUGHTS? If Newport Beach Republican Christopher Cox goes after a U.S. Senate seat next year, conservative TV commentator Bruce Herschensohn says he may go after Cox’s congressional seat. A change of tune? Two years ago, Herschensohn said about the House: “Senator is the only office I want. I have at least the opportunity to influence more on TV and radio than I would from the House of Representatives.” That was before he lost last year’s Senate race to Democrat Barbara Boxer.

MORE THAN MUSIC: Dr. Loco’s Rockin’ Jalapeno Band gives its audience more than just Latin music. Dr. Loco, or Jose Cuellar, is a Latino studies professor at San Francisco State University, and his music reflects his extensive research on Latino life in this country. His group plays Sunday at the first annual Santa Ana Latin American Festival at Rancho Santiago College. . . . “We address such issues as racism, police abuse, support for workers around the world and human rights struggles,” Cuellar says.

BATTLEFIELD BATTLE: Irvine developer Lee C. Sammis has more to worry about than just a recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy at one of his companies in Virginia. Now a preservation group in Culpeper County, Va., is opposing his plans to sell some of his 1,445 acres there to make way for an auto racetrack. It’s on the site of the Brandy Station Civil War battlefield. . . . Sammis, who voluntarily earmarked 248 other acres as “battleground,” says, “Most of the battle took place off our property. I think all the different uses can coexist.”

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