Nielsen wins Senate seat
Tuesday was like any other night in Tehama County — very few surprises to upset the routine of the typically routine nature of farming communities.
And that included the results of the special state Senate election.
As expected, former senator turned Assemblyman Jim Nielsen is back being a senator, winning 66.7 percent of the vote in the newly drawn 4th District, the state Secretary of State's election division reported.
The Gerber Republican succeeds former Sen. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, who stepped down ahead of his election to Congress.
As of Wednesday morning, Nielsen had 87,669 votes to Democrat Michael "Mickey" Harrington's 43,866.
In Tehama County, Nielsen collected 5,601 votes, or 67.01 percent of the ballots cast, the county Elections Office reports.
Harrington received 2,757 votes, according to the unofficial results.
The county Elections Office said election turnout was 26.95 percent of the county's 31,077 registered voters.
This is in sharp contrast to the 75 percent turnout in the November presidential election.
The results are unofficial until the final canvass and certification by the Board of Supervisors.
"We are still counting about 440 absentee ballots, but should be finished by Friday," said Tehama County Assistant Registrar of Voters Jennifer Vise.
Only 4.27 percent of eligible voters in the county turned out at the polls, in contrast to a vote-by-mail turnout of 20.70 percent.
The 12 Northern California counties' $1 million cost price tag for Tuesday's special election has sparked new interest in asking the state Legislature to make similar single-issue runoff elections a vote-by-mail only election.
"I'm not sure Tehama County would be in favor of it because it could be a wash financially as we would have to pay for all of the postage and other related items. We would definitely have to do some money-crunching to see if that would be financially prudent," Vise said.
She said the county as a cost saving measure, consolidated polling sites from 34 to 21 for the special election.
Nielsen will be administered the Oath of Office by Associate Justice George Nicholson of the 3rd District Court of Appeals at the regularly scheduled Senate session on Thursday.