Former Bakersfield Assemblywoman Shannon Grove is officially kicking off her state Senate campaign with an event at the Kern County Fairgrounds Thursday night.

The event is also being billed as a thank you to Grove, who represented the 34th Assembly District for six years before being termed out. She was replaced by Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield.

Grove is now running to succeed state Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, in the 16th Senate District, which includes much of Bakersfield. That election is in November 2018. Former Assemblywoman Connie Conway, R-Tulare, is also running for the seat, so this could be one of the marquis local contests of this election cycle.

Grove reported this week her campaign raised $84,765 in 2016 for the state Senate contest and had $271,343 on hand Dec. 31. Conway has not filed her end-of-the-year campaign finance report; it's not due until next week.

Conway's most recent campaign finance filing, covering April 24 to June 30, 2016, shows she had $109,635 on hand at the end of that period.

Grove's event is being held at 6:30 p.m. at the Kern County Fairgrounds Building One, 322 East Belle Terrace.

Conway, also a former Tulare County supervisor who was born in Bakersfield, will hold a fundraiser in Sacramento next week. She intends to have one in Tulare County at the end of February and one in Kern County in mid-March.