November 7, 2012 | Back to: Columns

Gaines earns State Senate seat; Nielsen outpaces opponents

Incumbent Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, won the right to return to State Senate as the District 1 representative after defeating Nevada City resident and Democrat Julie Griffith-Flatter by a wide margin.

The margin of victory was substantial with Gaines earning 182,358 votes (64 percent) with 84 percent of the precincts district wide reporting, with Griffith-Flatter earning 101,239 votes (36 percent).

Griffith-Flatter fared better in her home county, garnering 11,725 votes (43 percent) to Gaines’ 15,473 votes (57 percent).

“Senator Gaines is looking forward to continuing to represent Nevada County at the State Senate,” Steve Daley, chief of staff for Gaines, said Tuesday night. “We are eager and ready to get back to work.”

Gaines, who was the frontrunner in the election and ran a quiet campaign, positioned himself as an experienced legislator whose background in small business allowed him to address the regulatory environment, which he believes has constrained the pace of business in the Golden State.

Griffith-Flatter, a land-use planner, made her initial foray into the political sphere in this year’s election and emphasized the importance of environmental stewardship and investment in education. The Union was unable to reach Griffith-Flatter on Election Day.

In the special election to elect the State Senate District 4 representative, who will replace Doug LaMalfa for the remainder of his two-year term, Republican Jim Nielsen won in a landslide.

However, as of press time, it was unclear if Nielsen won the senate seat as, he needed to garner 50 percent plus one vote to win outright.

With 72 percent of the California precincts reporting, Nielsen had 50.4 percent of the vote, collecting 121,614 votes. Democrat Mickey Harrington came in second place, capturing 67,362 (27.9 percent).

If the trend holds, Nielsen will win outright, but if he dips below 50 percent, he will face off against Harrington in a two-person run-off race.

Nielsen often campaigned alongside LaMalfa and touted his ability to fight for the rural interests of his district.

Harrington, represented himself as the polar opposite of Nielsen, saying his long history as a negotiator in unions would make him an adept politician at the state level.

Dan Levine, a nascent politician from Chico who did not state a party preference, espoused the need to tax the medical marijuana industry to help balance the state budget. He received 5,761 votes (2.4 percent).

Jann Reed, who served on the Chico Unified School District Board of Education, described herself as a centrist and pragmatic politician who would represent the diversity of the North State region, which she believes is underestimated. Reed received 14,058 votes (5.8 percent).

Dan Logue, who was on the ballot but announced his withdrawal still managed 28,100 votes for 11.6 percent.

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

“Senator Gaines is looking forward to continuing to represent Nevada County at the State Senate.”

— STEVE DALEY, chief of staff for Ted Gaines


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The Union Updated Nov 7, 2012 03:53PM Published Nov 9, 2012 07:19AM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.