The race to replace Doug LaMalfa in the state senate will be decided in a special election this coming Tuesday. An election that would not have been necessary if it weren't for a fraction of one percent of the vote in November.
Now North State residents must foot the enormous bill, District 4 counties are expected to shell out over a million dollars to pay for an election that has just one race with only two candidates.
In the November election, the senate district 4 race was a primary for Doug LaMalfa's vacated seat.
“If any one candidate gets 50 percent of the vote, then there is no run-off election, the front runner in November only got 49.8%,” said Cathy Darling Allen, Shasta County Registrar of Voters.
In a race of 378,000 votes, Jim Nielsen was just 832 votes off of a win. The next closest candidate was democrat Mickey Harrington, with only 27.7% of the vote. Nielsen likely would have won if not for republican Dan Logue, who dropped out 29 days before the election but still garnered 11% of the vote.
“So if that person had never filed and never appeared on the ballot and all of those votes had gone to Mr. Nielsen, we would not be in this situation,” said Darling Allen.
A lot of the blame for this special election has been placed on the media, saying that we did not do a good enough job of informing the public that Dan Logue had dropped from the race, but all local news outlets ran stories, and when it comes down to it, it’s the voters responsibility to make informed decisions.
“It’s just a pitty, that’s all i can say,” said Janet Tyrrel with the League of Women Voters.
“They really are not tuned in to the vote process, candidates and so forth until the last minute,” said Tyrrel.
This time, with only two candidates, voters have it easy. So the focus now turns to paying for the special election.
“Can we afford to do it, I would say no, do we have to do it? absolutely, yes,” said Shasta County Chief Administrative Officer Larry Lees.
Shasta and Butte counties will pay the most, each shelling out about $400,000 from their general fund.
Moral of the story, every vote does counts, and in this case, it counts for a lot of money.
If you're planning to vote next Tuesday, double check your polling place, counties have consolidated them in an effort to save money.