Jim Nielsen won a seat in the California state Senate after receiving more than 50 percent plus one vote in the special election for District 4.
Nielsen accrued 142,926 votes, which constituted 50.4 percent of the vote. Nielsen needed 50 percent plus one vote to be declared the outright winner in the special election.
Had Nielsen received less than the required amount, he would have had to face off against the second-place winner.
Mickey Harringtion, a Democrat from Magalia, Calf., came in second in the race, garnering 78,690 votes for 27.7 percent of the vote.
Nielsen’s victory would likely have been more convincing had fellow Republican Dan Logue not taken some conservative votes.
Logue, who withdrew from the race in early October citing health issues and a desire to focus his energy on his race in the 3rd Assembly District, appeared on the ballot for the special election as he filed the paperwork. Logue garnered 31,998 votes (11.3 percent).
Ben Emery, a Nevada City resident, also appeared on the ballot, despite announcing his withdrawal from the race. Emery collected 5,075 votes (1.8 percent).
Logue prevailed in the District 3 Assembly race, capturing 66,961 votes (56.1 percent) while his Democratic opponent Charles Rouse garnered 52,304 votes (43.9 percent).
Nielsen said he was happy to gain support from voters in Nevada County, which he has yet to represent.
Nielsen’s campaign was not without controversy.
Doug LaMalfa, who formerly held the seat, resigned in early September, purportedly to save taxpayers money by putting the special election to replace him on the November ballot, which would not require additional election expenses to be used.
However, Nielsen’s opponents noted that this truncated the window in which individuals could sign up to race
against Nielsen, who is a close political ally of LaMalfa — the two
men have the same campaign slogan and celebrated together Tuesday night in Chico.
Several editorial opinion pieces from newspapers throughout the North State accused Nielsen and LaMalfa of orchestrating the timing of the resignation to pave the way for Nielsen’s ascension to LaMalfa’s former seat.
“I think it’s crazy that people would try to spin what was a noble decision that way,” Nielsen told The Union in late October, saying the move was a means of saving taxpayers money.
Jann Reed, who ran in the special election, receiving 18,087 votes (6.4 percent), said a big reason she ran was due to what she perceived as manipulation of the system by the two men.
She said she and her fellow candidates only had about 10 days to sign up and that Nielsen had his paperwork filed on the first day.
Another controversy surrounding Nielsen relates to his place of residence.
Nielsen listed his residence as Gerber, Calif., but critics assert he actually lives at his longtime home in Woodland, Calif., which is located just outside of Senate District 4.
“He doesn’t live where he says he lives, and he is dishonest,” Harrington said in late October.
Nielsen dismissed the claims as “utter falsehood.”
“Within a month of the first charge being levied, it was thrown out of court. and I was awarded attorney’s fees,” Nielsen said.
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email email@example.com or call (530) 477-4239.