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Today's Special Election to Have Statewide Implications

Jul 23, 2013

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Today's special election in Senate District 16 is expected to have low turnout.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, its results could shape state government for the rest of the decade.

California Democrats loved last November’s legislative results.  Paul Mitchell is a Sacramento-based political data and redistricting expert.

“It seems as though Democrats now have obtained a two-thirds majority that should last them through the decade,” says Mitchell.

The key word being “should.”  But this special state Senate election – in a district where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 50 percent to 28 percent – threatens that supermajority.

"The Republicans did exceptionally well in the primary.  And in this runoff, nobody really knows what’s going to happen in terms of the outcome, but they have a good shot at winning this seat," says Mitchell.

So naturally, the money is pouring in.  Democrat Leticia Perez has raised nearly $2.4 million; Republican Andy Vidak, more than $1.8 million – all for an election that saw just 22 percent turnout in the first round.