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Low turnout predicted in Assembly District 4 election

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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The special election to fill the District 4 Assembly seat isn’t so special with Placer County voters. Blaming a possible case of voter fatigue, Placer County’s election chief said Monday that Election Day Tuesday could see less than 30 percent turnout. It’s the fourth District 4 election in less than a year, with a primary last June followed by the November election win by Republican Ted Gaines. When Gaines won the District 1 Senate special election in January, voters returned March 8 for the primary to succeed him. Democrat Dennis Campanale and Gaines’ wife, Beth Gaines, were the top two vote-getters March 8 and moved on to the May 3 primary. “I think voters are a little frustrated with the economy and elected officials,” Placer County Clerk-Registrar of Voters Jim McCauley said. In Placer County, just more than 31,000 of the 101,000 absentee ballots had been returned by the end of last week. McCauley said that – like March 8 absentee returns – some mail-in ballots were coming in with comments stating the election is a waste of time. “There might be a little voter fatigue,” he said. McCauley said the election will cost an estimated $450,000. McCauley said that’s down from the $800,000 he estimated in January for the election because he renegotiated to lower printing costs. McCauley had initially estimated the two elections would cost $800,000 each and the January special Senate election would come in at around $600,000 to $650,000. Beth Gaines has been a front-runner in fundraising and pre-Election Day activity. The Gaines campaign had taken in more than $250,000 since the start of the year and – with the strong possibility of a win in a long-held Republican political bastion – was gaining money from several out-of-county businesses and organizations with statewide interests. She has also hit the campaign trail, visiting with local leaders in Auburn and other communities. Andre Levesque, Gaines’ campaign manager, said Monday that the Roseville Republican was confident that her message on job creation was resonating with voters. Campanale has taken on the role of underdog, with little in the way of campaigning in public and less than $5,000 in declared donations. His campaign received a boost late last week when Pasadena’s Opportunity Political Action Committee spent almost $40,000 on mailers critical of Gaines. Campanale, also a Roseville resident, said in an interview with the Journal last week that his chances of winning were “very slight” and depended on moderate Republicans combining with Democrats and decline-to-state voters to defeat the GOP candidate.