Voters choose new representative for state Assembly District 1 |

Voters choose new representative for state Assembly District 1

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Polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday, and returns began trickling in afterward. Results can be found at, and a more in-depth story will appear in Thursday’s edition of The Union.

Voters across nine counties cast ballots in Tuesday’s special election for state Assembly District 1.

Democrat Elizabeth Betancourt and Republican Megan Dahle ran to take the seat vacated by Brian Dahle, Megan Dahle’s husband, when he won a special election for the state Senate. They were the top two vote-getters in an August primary involving five candidates. Because no one candidate secured at least 50% of the vote plus one vote, Betancourt and Dahle advanced to Tuesday’s runoff.

They ran in a rural district that is bigger than West Virginia, stretching from suburban Sacramento to the state’s northeastern corner and covering all or parts of nine counties, including Nevada County. The district’s registered voters are 40% Republicans and 28% Democrats, with another 22% having no party preference.

Betancourt reported raising and spending more than $100,000 on the campaign. She had outside support in the form of a $1,700 campaign mailer from the Democratic Central Committee of Siskiyou County.

Dahle raised and spent more than triple that amount and benefited from more than $30,000 in outside spending on radio advertising and telephone calls by a group representing correctional officers and real estate agents.

For a time it appeared that wildfires and preventive power outages to guard against utility equipment sparking fires could disrupt the election but neither was a factor Tuesday. Secretary of State Alex Padilla worked with county elections officials and electric utilities to make sure voting could occur if there was a blackout or significant wildfires.

It’s the most dangerous time of the year for fires and Padilla urged county elections officials throughout the state to have up-to-date contingency plans and utilities have a responsibility to work with elections officials to make sure voters are not disenfranchised because of outages.

His office has a webpage devoted to procedures and guidelines for voting in a state of emergency or natural disaster. Among other things, it advises officials to be ready to move their operations if necessary, or use flashlights, generators and backup voting materials.

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