Keroche Breweries Director Tabitha Karanja has officially joined Deputy President William Ruto's camp and will vie for the Nakuru senatorial seat on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party ticket.
Ms Karanja was among the politicians who attended a joint rally held by Dr Ruto, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya's Moses Wetang’ula at the Nakuru ASK showground on Wednesday.
She declared her intention to contest the Senate seat in October last year.
Burt she had remained tight-lipped about her political party, until Wednesday when she arrived at the Nakuru rally in the company of politicians allied to the Deputy President.
With slightly over six months before the August 9 General Election, Ms Karanja has joined a growing list of candidates seeking to succeed Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika.
Senator Kihika, a close ally of Dr Ruto, has already declared she will vie for the county's governorship.
Her decision has thrown the race for the Senate wide open, with at least 10 candidates declaring their interest in the seat.
Ms Karanja will square it out with Industrialisation Chief Administrative Secretary Lawrence Karanja, former Subukia MP Koigi Wamwere, Dr Joseph Mburu, former Nakuru Level Five Hospital medical superintendent Mike Weche, Mr Davis Ruto, Mr Daniel Kimani, Mr Mwai Gachunga, Mr Andrew Yatich and Mr Crispus Wathimba.
More candidates are expected to announce their interest in the seat as the clock ticks towards the August 9 elections.
Political temperatures are rising in the cosmopolitan county as candidates jostle to outshine each other ahead of the polls.
Ms Karanja, 56, has said that if elected, she will ensure that money allocated to the county is used to transform the lives of its more than two million residents.
"I want to influence policies while at the Senate. I’ve been toying with the idea for years, but I’m now ready to go for it,” she said in an earlier interview with Nation.Africa
"For years, I have shied away from politics to concentrate on business but time is ripe for me to introduce policies that will support fellow investors. I have new business ideas which can spur this country ahead economically.”
Ms Karanja has always been in the limelight, having guided her Naivasha-based brewery to become one of the top brewers in the county.
She has begun discreet campaigns around the county.
Already, aspirants have started engaging allies in consultative meetings before they roll out their campaigns.
Several factors, including closeness to the people, individual development records and the President Uhuru Kenyatta succession politics, will determine who becomes the next Nakuru senator, said political analyst and lawyer Steve Kabita.
"Currently, the front-runners are Ms Karanja, lawyer Lawrence Karanja and Dr Joseph Mburu. But as the clock ticks to (August), we shall see how the race unfolds,” he said.
The cosmopolitan county has Kalenjin, Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya, Kisii, Kamba and Maasai voters.
But two large communities - the Kipsigis and the Kikuyu - determine who becomes governor and senator.
The Kipsigis in Molo, Kuresoi South, Kuresoi North and Njoro form a significant voting bloc in the county.