Wednesday Mar 09 2011
GOP Gaines says she’s ready for runoff rumble with Democrat Campanale
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Thousands of votes left to count before results made official
With the Election Day count almost completed, 4th Assembly District candidate Beth Gaines is holding onto her lead today over fellow Republican John Allard for the second slot on a May 3 election runoff ballot. The Secretary of State count from all four counties, including Placer, shows Gaines with a 667-vote lead over Allard. Gaines, the wife of former 4th District Assemblyman Ted Gaines, has 14,247 votes while Allard, a Roseville City Councilman, has 13,580. But there are still thousands of ballots to be counted. Democrat Dennis Campanale, a retired Roseville firefighter, topped the polls in an eight-candidate special election Tuesday to succeed Ted Gaines. He polled 31.8 percent of the vote. But because none of the candidates garnered a majority of votes, the top two candidates – regardless of party affiliation – move on to the May 3 runoff. As of Wednesday, the unofficial count shows Gaines and Campanale squaring off in what has been a Republican Assembly seat for several years. Gaines is gunning to replace her husband, now-Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, to form a rare husband-and-wife team in Sacramento. Gaines expressed confidence in her vote totals Tuesday and issued a statement today saying she is looking forward to the May 3 run-off election “and to serving the people of our area in the Assembly.” “It was a hard-fought election and I want to congratulate all of my oppnents for running strong campaigns,” Gaines said. “Voters in our district sent a strong message of fiscal conservatism by giving the seven Republican candidates a combined 68 percent of the vote – 23 points more than Republican registration.” Allard had not returned calls for comment Wednesday as of press time. Campanale would stand in her way. He said Tuesday that he’s counting on decline-to-state voters and Democrats, as well as some financial help from the state Democratic Party, to eke out an election win in a GOP political stronghold. Semi-official election returns from Placer, El Dorado, Sacramento and Alpine counties show Gaines with 22.5 percent of the vote and Allard with 21.5 percent. In Placer County, Allard was actually leading Gaines, with all precincts reported, and 22.9 percent of the vote to his main opponent’s 20.73 percent. Placer County elections chief Jim McCauley said that his office still has an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 ballots remaining to be counted. A total of 38,797 votes had already been tallied in Placer, which makes up the largest block of 4th District votes. Votes yet to be counted are mostly vote-by-mail, mail and provisional ballots, McCauley said. Other counties will also be providing a final count in an expedited tally McCauley said should be completed within 10 days. Once counted, the ballots will add another 6 percent to 9 percent to final turnout figures. When the canvass is completed, the state can certify the election results. Part of the canvass process involves a manual recount of at least 1 percent of the votes cast for each candidate. The hand count is used to verify the accuracy of the computer count. Semi-official results for the other 4th District candidates were “Bo” Ambrozewicz (1.2 percent), Cheryl Bly-Chester (9.7 percent), Rob Matthews (3.8 percent), Michael O’Connor (5.7 percent) and Matt Williams (5.8 percent).