Republican Blakeslee beats Laird in special election but fails to secure outright win for state Senate

John Laird

Republican Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee appears to have beaten
Democrat John Laird in a hotly contested Senate primary election
but narrowly failed to secure the majority vote necessary to
capture the seat outright.
Republican Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee appears to have beaten Democrat John Laird in a hotly contested Senate primary election but narrowly failed to secure the majority vote necessary to capture the seat outright.

In a special election that was decided by less than 30 percent of voters, Blakeslee moved ahead of Laird for District 15 – a seat that was left vacant after Abel Maldonado was appointed Lieutenant Governor earlier this year.

With all precincts counted, Blakeslee led Laird by a margin of 49.7 percent to 41.2 percent, with independent candidate Jim Fitzgerald garnering 6.1 percent and Libertarian Mark Hinkle about 3 percent.

If the vote totals hold up once all contested, provisional or other ballots are counted, all four candidates would square off Aug. 17 in a general election. The winner would hold the seat until 2012.

The victor will represent citizens in five counties along the central to northern California coast – parts of Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties form District 15. Morgan Hill, San Martin and the a small section of Gilroy’s northernmost community are represented in District 15.

Tuesday night’s precinct counts showed Blakeslee winning in Santa Clara County with 47 percent of the vote; San Luis Obispo County with 58 percent; and Santa Barbara County, 62 percent.

Laird, a Santa Cruz resident, won Santa Cruz County with 56 percent of the vote, and in Monterey County, 55 percent.

The 15th District Senate race was being closely watched statewide because if Laird had captured the seat, Senate Democrats would be just one vote short of the two-thirds majority necessary to approve budgets and pass tax proposals.

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