Cannella served on the Ceres City Council from 1976 until 1980 and as Mayor of Ceres from 1980 until 1982, when he was elected to the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors. He was reelected to the board in 1986.
Canella was on track to win reelection again in 1990 when he decided to run for a special election for the California State Assembly that January. He won the race for the 27th district vacated by Democrat Gary Condit (who had been elected to Congress) and was reelected that November and again in 1992 and 1994 (in the renumbered 26th district).
State Senate Race
Although California state term limits prevented Cannella from seeking reelection in 1996, he did run for the California State Senate seat held by Republican Dick Monteith in 1998. Monteith had won the Modesto based 12th district in 1994 by beating a Democratic incumbent. Democrats (led by then President Pro Tem John Burton) went all out for Cannella, who lost by 53% to 44% after an expensive and nasty campaign.
In 2010, Cannella's son, Anthony Cannella, was elected state Senator for the 12th. District as a Republican.
- Vassar, Alex; Shane Meyers (2007). "Sal Cannella, Democrat". JoinCalifornia.com. Retrieved 2008-11-23.
- California Journal Vol. XXIII, No.7 (July 1992) "Complete Primary Results". StateNet Publications, July 1992.
- JoinCalifornia, Election History for the State of California
|California State Assembly, 27th District
|California State Assembly, 26th District