Justice Department approves special election to replace Maldonado
May 21, 2010
The U.S. Justice Department ignored concerns by California Democrats and approved a special election for June 22 to fill the state Senate seat of Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria). [San Francisco Chronicle]
Democrats had hoped to block the election with a lawsuit in federal court. However, the lawsuit was dropped Thursday, following the announcement by the Justice Department.
Lawyers for the California Democratic Party will now try to persuade federal officials to reconsider their approval.
The original lawsuit claimed that the choices of dates would lead to lower minority turnout in Monterey County, one of five counties in the Senate district. Justice Department approval for special elections is required because the county has a history of suppressing minority voting.
The election had been called by Gov. Schwarzenegger to fill Maldonado’s seat following the Santa Maria Republican’s confirmation as lieutenant governor.
Candidates include Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) and former Assemblyman John Laird (D-Santa Cruz). If no one gets a majority, the top vote-getter from each party will meet in a run-off Aug. 17.
The special election is expected to cost San Luis Obispo County $300,000.