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Jon Fleischman

*Breaking News* – Doug LaMalfa resigns from State Senate, effective at the end of session!

I just heard from longtime FlashReport friend (and blogger) State Senator Doug La Malfa. He wanted to let FlashReport readers know to not be alarmed at the news that this fine conservative has resigned, effective at the end of the legislative session (sometime in the wee hours tomorrow morning, no doubt). For those following North State politics, La Malfa is now the Republican nominee for Congress in the sprawling First Congressional seat, which is considered a “safe” seat for the GOP. The makeup of that seat is largely that of one currently occupied by retiring conservative Congressman Wally Herger.

State Senator and Congressional candidate Doug La Malfa

“I’ve thrown my hat over the fence and am taking nothing for granted in my campaign for Congress, but I do not feel it would be right to wait until the end of the year to resign from the Senate. Resigning now gives the Governor the ability to consolidate elections, saving local counties and taxpayers at least $2 million.”

As mentioned by La Malfa, by resigning from the State Senate now, it allows the Governor to consolidate the special election to fill the State Senate race with the November election, eliminating the additional costs of at least one special election (and possibly eliminating all of the costs if a candidate gets over 50% of the vote in the special, eliminating the need for a runoff). Senator La Malfa spoke today with Governor Brown, who has said that he will in fact consolidate the special election.

“I met with the Governor and he told me he will move quickly to consolidate the elections. Resigning now will ensure that the North State is not left without a representative when the legislature reconvenes.  It is the best decision I can make to protect the taxpayers and ensure the North State has a voice in the Senate.”

It is certainly noble of Senator La Malfa to forgo several months of pay and the other perks that come with being a Senator between now and mid-January when he likely will be sworn-in as a member of Congress. But, of course, this isn’t all about doing the right thing. Politics plays heavily into this decision. La Malfa’s election to Congress sets up a major North State battle for the State Senate between long-time rivals Assemblyman Jim Nielsen and Assemblyman Dan Logue, both of whom represent large portions of the La Malfa Senate Seat. La Malfa has already endorsed Nielsen’s bid to succeed him. Nielsen decided not to seek re-election to the Assembly, “to focus his political attention on running for the State Senate in an anticipating Spring special election.” So no doubt this “set the table” for Nielsen to immediately start running in what would now be a November special election.

While Dan Logue is currently running for re-election to the Assembly, he would also be able to concurrently run in the special election for the State Senate on the same ballot. There is recent North State history of this being done, and successfully. Then Assemblyman Ted Gaines ran in a special election for the State Senate (after the unfortunate passing of Dave Cox) in a special election that was consolidated with his re-election to the Assembly.

There is no doubt that the politics of the North State continues to be a fascinating spectator sport for most, and to those who live there, they may need a power-point presentation to understand all of the rearranging of the deck chairs up there.

We’ve received a column on this decision by Senator La Malfa that has been authored by FR friend Lew Uhler, President of the National Tax Limitation Committee, that he asked that we share with you. You can read it here. (Uhler has endorsed Jim Nielsen’s candidacy for the State Senate, so bear that in mind.)