November 21, 2012 | Back to: News

Special election for state senate in January


Jim Nielsen, a Republican candidate for the District 4 Senate Seat, will have to run in a special election in January 2013 against Michael Harrington, a Democratic candidate from Magalia, Calif., after failing to take the required number of votes to win the seat outright.

Nielsen, who resides in Gerber, Calif., captured 49.8 percent of the vote, according to the official canvas results posted on the California Secretary of State’s website Thursday evening.

Nielsen will have to face off against Harrington, who gathered 27.8 percent of the vote.

In order to win the seat and avoid the Jan. 8, 2013, special election, either candidate had to earn 50 percent plus one vote.

In Nevada County, Nielsen managed to gain 16,316 votes for 41.41 percent of the vote, while Harrington captured 14,147 votes for 35.90 percent of the total vote. Those results are final.

The race was complicated by Republican Dan Logue, who entered, then withdrew from the race but still appeared on the ballot.

Logue withdrew due to reported health complications and concentrated his efforts on winning California’s District 3 Assembly seat, which he managed to take with 56 percent of the vote.

In Nevada County, Logue took a significant portion of the conservative vote, garnering 5,731 votes for 14.54 percent of the vote.

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.

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, but critics assert he actually lives at his longtime home in Woodland, 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.”

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email mrenda@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4239.


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The Union Updated Nov 22, 2012 08:29AM Published Nov 23, 2012 08:32AM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.