The June 22 special election continues to loom over county election officials. Though a lawsuit may put a temporary halt on the expedited election schedule, the candidates are gearing up to make a run at the 15th District Senate seat.
Four candidates have officially declared their intention to run: San Luis Obispo Republican Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee, Former Democratic assemblyman John Laird, Nipomo independent Jim Fitzgerald, and South Bay Libertarian Mark Hinkle. If no one candidate gains more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be an Aug. 17 runoff between the top two candidates.
The money is already flooding in. Laird pulled in $45,900 in “late and $5,000+ contributions received,” according to the California Secretary of State. Additionally, in his active 2012 recipient committee (the Senate seat was scheduled for a 2012 election), Laird reported receiving $90,542.01 between the beginning of the year and March 17, with an ending cash balance of $48,701.98.
Blakeslee’s 2010 recipient committee reported only $6,400 in late contributions. But in his active 2012 committee, he held another $443,858.01 cash balance as of March 17.
Neither Fitzgerald or Hinkle had reported any contributions as of press time.
As the election approaches, county election officials are hesitantly proceeding even as a lawsuit filed against Monterey County could delay the election. County Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald said the county is going forward as planned in order to meet printing deadlines to get ballots ready. If the court decides to delay the election and the county has already printed the ballots, it’s unlikely the state will reimburse the cost. The cost of the special election is estimated to drain $1 million out of SLO County.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called the special election—which will fall just two weeks after the June 8 primary—shortly after Abel Maldonado was confirmed as lieutenant governor. Voter registration for the June 8 election closes on March 24. There’s a separate deadline for the June 22 election.