Former Anaheim City Councilman Harry Sidhu has made it official that he will run for the 68th Assembly District, announcing some initial endorsements as he becomes the first official entrant into the race for this heavily Republican district.

This contest will either be on the ballot this summer or next year. If incumbent Don Wagner wins the special election this spring to fill the 37th Senate District vacancy, it will set up a summer special election for AD68. If John Moorlach wins the SD37 election, AD68 will still open next year because Wagner is termed out.

Here is the press release from the Sidhu campaign:

Republican Businessman Harry Sidhu to run for Assembly
Announces Key Endorsements

ANAHIEM, CA — Republican businessman Harry Sidhu announced today that he will be a candidate for the State Assembly in the 68th district, which is currently held by Assemblyman Don Wagner.

“I fully expect Assemblyman Wagner to be successful in his campaign for State Senate, which means the 68th district Special Election will be this year,” said Sidhu. “I am honored that so many community leaders I respect have asked me to run for the Assembly when the seat opens up. If elected, I will use my experience in business and local government to work for conservative policies that help create economic growth and jobs, limit state government spending and keep taxes down.”

Sidhu announced that Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, Stephen Batcheller (Partner, Panattoni Development Company, Inc.), and Larry Lake (President, Lake Development Group, Inc.) have endorsed his candidacy and will serve on his Steering Committee.

“Harry Sidhu will bring a track record of accomplishment, energy and ideas to the Assembly and the state Republican Party,” said Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff. “He will also be the first Republican of Indian heritage to be elected to the Legislature.”

Harry Sidhu served for eight years on the Anaheim City Council and as Mayor Pro Tem in 2012 and from December 2009 through December 2011. A Licensed California Professional Engineer, General Contractor and Real Estate Broker, Sidhu has owned and operated numerous local businesses. For over 20 years, he has been actively involved in the Orange County business community and in the Republican Party. Harry’s passion to stimulate our local economy resulted in the creation of a free annual Anaheim Health Fair and an annual OC Job Fair and Expo, which has put over 1,700 people back to work. He is involved in many philanthropic efforts and a supporter of children’s sports; the arts and education, and many civic activities.

Additionally, Harry Sidhu has assembled a professional team of campaign consultants to assist in his campaign. Gilliard Blanning and Associaties will serve the campaign as general consultants, Warfield and Associates will head the campaign’s PAC fundraising, Gina Zari will serve as head of district operations and Jen Eve Slater will serve as campaign treasurer.

The 68th district includes the communities of Anaheim, Irvine, Lake Forest, North Tustin, Orange, Tustin and Villa Park.

Sidhu is smart to get in early and run hard. The more momentum, money and endorsements a candidate generates, the more he or she can crowd out potential opponents who are still pondering a run or putting together a campaign operation. This is especially true if Wagner is able to win the SD37 special election outright on March 17, setting up a May special for AD68.

Sidhu is a successful businessman who is willing to put his own money into his campaign, which often causes politicos to forget that he is a prodigious fundraiser who doesn’t have to self-fund. As of the end of 2014, he had almost $130,000 cash-on-hand, of which $35,000 is a personal loan.

There’s a déjà vu element to this campaign. back in 2008, Sidhu had considered, and been urged to consider, a run for the 60th Assembly District but chose instead to run for the 33rd Senate District. His opponent was then-Assemblywoman Mimi Walters, whose campaign consultant was Dave Gilliard. Walters defeated Sidhu in a bitter primary campaign. Seven years later, Walters accession to Congress has set in motion a train of events that could well lead to Sidhu being elected to the Assembly with Gillard guiding, rather than fighting his campaign. It’s a testament to Sidhu’s resilient, take-it-in-stride nature.