Special election season begins | TheUnion.com

Special election season begins

For those who wish election season would never end, a pleasant surprise is coming to a mailbox near you.

The Nevada County Elections office mailed Vote-By-Mail ballots for the special election for the District 4 Senate Seat this week, meaning they will be arriving in residential mailboxes soon.

The elections office sent 36,630 vote-by-mail ballots, said Assistant Clerk-Recorder Gail Smith Wednesday evening. There are a total of 51,103 voters in Senate District 4.

The race features Republican candidate Jim Nielsen, Gerber, and Democratic candidate Michael “Mickey” Harrington, Magalia.

Nielsen came close to winning the seat outright in November during the general election, but was unable to get 50 percent plus one vote. Nielsen captured 49.8 percent of the vote Nov. 6, while Harrington garnered 27.8 percent of the vote.

Nielsen was hindered in his effort to win the seat outright when fellow Republican Dan Logue, who represented Nevada County in the State Assembly this past term, entered the race and then promptly withdrew due to health concerns.

In Nevada County, though he had withdrawn from the race, Logue still took a significant portion of the vote, garnering 5,731 votes for 14.54 percent.

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.

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 prior to the general election, 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 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.”

Harrington has presented himself as “100 percent different” from Nielsen, saying he is opposed to giving away the region’s water to southern portions of California, in an October interview with The Union. He served in the U.S. Navy and served with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and has experience in intense negotiating processes, he said.

Harrington said he would make getting jobs that pay a living wage a priority if elected, along with making an effort
to accommodate the military veterans coming back home from overseas missions.

He also said the medical marijuana issue has created an underground economy and there is a lot of money out there that could be taxed to help the state balance its budget.

“It should be controlled by the state and taxed at an appropriate rate,” Harrington said. “It would bring millions of dollars to the state and generate new jobs.”

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

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