Blakeslee defeats Laird for Senate District 15

Sam Blakeslee

In a repeat race of state Senate District 15 after no candidate
won the primary outright, this time Republican Sam Blakeslee was
victorious.
Blakeslee beat former Santa Cruz Assemblyman and Democrat John
Laird with 48 percent of the vote (77,107 votes) to 44 percent
(69,649 votes). Jim Fitzgerald, an independent, took 5 percent of
the vote (8,014 votes) and Morgan Hill small businessman and
Libertarian Mike Hinkle reeled in 2 percent (3,162 votes).
Gilroy

In a repeat race of state Senate District 15 after no candidate won the primary outright, this time Republican Sam Blakeslee was victorious.

Blakeslee beat former Santa Cruz Assemblyman and Democrat John Laird with 48 percent of the vote (77,107 votes) to 44 percent (69,649 votes). Jim Fitzgerald, an independent, took 5 percent of the vote (8,014 votes) and Morgan Hill small businessman and Libertarian Mike Hinkle reeled in 2 percent (3,162 votes).

All 378 precincts in District 15 were reported by midnight Tuesday. District 15 covers Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo to the Silicon Valley, wrapping around central Gilroy to pick up the west section of Gilroy, San Martin and Morgan Hill into south San Jose, Los Gatos and Saratoga.

In Santa Clara County, Laird was favored (46.7 percent) over Blakeslee (45.6 percent), but the results districtwide for Fitzgerald and Hinkle were nearly identical to the county results.

According to the county Registrar of Voters, approximately 4,000 vote-by-mail ballots still need to be counted and about 400 provisional ballots. An update to the local ballot count will be posted on www.sccvote.org this afternoon.

Democrats are the majority party in California, but Blakeslee’s win pushes the Senate now two Democratic votes away from the two-thirds needed to pass budget and tax legislation in the Senate. The state is currently 45 days late on passing its budget.

Any legislation must still pass in the Assembly where Democrats are four votes short of a two-thirds majority.

In the June 22 primary election, Blakeslee, 55, lost the majority vote by less than 1 percentage point to capture the race outright and avoid the runoff election. He secured 49.4 percent of the vote, while Laird, 60, took 41.8 percent.

The state Senate position was left vacant by Abel Maldonado of Santa Maria after he was appointed lieutenant governor earlier this year.

Voter turnout is usually sparse for special elections – of the 113,223 registered voters in Santa Clara County 34,290 voted in Tuesday’s election. Though that number increased by about 4,000 from the June 22 primary election.

Single-issue ballots are also costly, since the fewer number of items on a ballot increases the expense of holding an election. The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters estimated the election cost about $1.2 million locally.

The Senate term expires in 2012.

Leave your comments