Campanale, Gaines lead in District 4 Assembly race

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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The District 4 Assembly special election’s lone Democrat candidate was leading a field of eight Tuesday while Beth Gaines was ahead in a battle with John Allard for second place. With Democrat Dennis Campanale leading in the early count with 32.1 percent of the vote, the retired firefighter from Roseville was well on his way to securing one of two spots on the ballot in a runoff May 3. “It looks like the percentages are pretty good,” Campanale said Tuesday night. “Hopefully it holds.” Campanale said it’s possible for a Democrat to wrest the Assembly seat away from Republicans in a strong GOP district May 3 if the runoff gets a good turnout of independent voters as well as members of his own party. The top two vote-getters advance to the runoff if no candidate finishes with a majority of votes in Tuesday’s special election. That appeared to be the case Tuesday. Republicans John Allard, a Roseville City Council member, and Beth Gaines, wife of state Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, were well ahead of the other five GOP candidates. The state Secretary of State count over the four 4th District counties – Placer, El Dorado, Sacramento and Alpine – showed Gaines with 22.8 percent of the vote and Allard with 20.9 percent. The state count had about two-thirds of all precincts partially reporting as of 11 p.m Tuesday. Gaines said she was confident that she was moving on to the next round. “I’m excited and anticipating participating in the runoff,” Gaines said. “I think our message has been resonating with voters in the district all along – it’s about creating jobs and helping small business to prosper.” Allard said his camp had always predicted that Campanale, as the only Democrat, would be the top vote getter. Campanale’s vote percentage closely matched the percentage of registered Democratic Party voters in District 4., which stands at about 31 percent. “It’s really a race for second place,” Allard said. Allard said he was satisfied with the way his campaign went. “We ran a real positive campaign that concentrated on my political record and experience,” he said. “And I’ve had tremendous support, with over 400 individual donors and I feel good about the endorsements I’ve received.” The early Placer County count showed Allard ahead of Gaines, with 21.76 percent of the vote to Gaines’s 20.84 percent. Placer County has the most registered voters in all four District 4 counties. Gaines was finding strength in El Dorado County, where she had garnered 26.63 percent in early returns to Allard’s 18.04 percent and Cheryl Bly-Chester of Roseville’s 10.94 percent. District wide, the other five candidates were far off the pace of the top three. Bly-Chester was polling 9.8 percent of the vote, with about two-thirds of the count in. Percentages for the other candidates were: Michael O’Connor (5.6 percent); Matt Williams (3.9 percent); Rob Matthews (3.7 percent) and Bogdan “Bo” Ambrozewicz (1.2 percent). Bly-Chester, a Roseville engineer and Republican Central Committee member, said that while the race was too close to call late Tuesday, it was clear that either Gaines or Allard would face Campanale in the runoff. “Like many things I have undertaken in life, I am very proud of the effort and I intend to persevere to see that people of this district are well-served by their next representative,” Bly-Chester said. “Our campaign started literally from scratch and reached 10 percent despite being outspent nearly 20 to 1. I know we ran a campaign worthy of the 4th District.” Ambrozewicz, a political newcomer from Greenwood, said he’s grateful for every vote he received and the opportunity to get to know people in the area better while campaigning. “They have told me that they are fed up with both parties and rich politicians that want to buy the office,” he said. “They’re looking for a third party that is actually for the people and are sick and tired of the idiots under ‘the dome’ destroying California and our economy.” The special election was called after Ted Gaines vacated his District 4 Assembly seat to be sworn in as the District 1 state senator to replace the late Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks. Cox died this past summer.