Democrats and Republicans split pair of California State Senate special elections

The partisan control of two seats in the California State Senate did not change following special elections on June 4.
District 1 and District 33 were on the ballot for a special general election.
  • Brian Dahle (R) defeated Kevin Kiley (R) for the District 1 seat in a race where no Democratic candidates advanced out of the primary. Dahle received 53.1% of the unofficial election night vote. The seat was vacated by Ted Gaines (R), who was elected to represent District 1 of the California State Board of Equalization in 2018.
  • Lena Gonzalez (D) defeated Jack Guerrero (R) for the District 33 seat with 69.0% of the election night vote count. Gonzalez and Guerrero were the only candidates who received a double-digit percentage of the primary vote. The seat was vacated by Ricardo Lara (D), who was elected to serve as the California Commissioner of Insurance in 2018.
The filing deadline to run for the seats was on January 31, and the primaries were held on March 26.
Entering the special election, the California State Senate had 28 Democrats, 10 Republicans, and the two vacancies. A majority in the chamber requires 21 seats. California has a Democratic trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
As of June, 58 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 23 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
Additional reading: