Elizabeth Betancourt, Megan Dahle advance to November runoff for state Assembly District 1
The day after the state Assembly District 1 election, both Democrat Elizabeth Betancourt and Republican Megan Dahle felt good.
The two women garnered the top two spots in a five-person field and secured a place in the Nov. 5 runoff.
Some votes remain to be counted. The Nevada County elections office has said they’ll count votes that reach it by Friday, as long as they were mailed by election day.
It’s highly unlikely the number of uncounted votes across the nine-county district will sway the existing results, meaning Dahle and Betancourt will face each other in just over two months.
Counties must certify their vote by Sept. 5.
“I feel good,” Dahle said Wednesday morning. “It’s a sprint. Specials are a sprint.”
Contacted Wednesday afternoon, Betancourt said she was grateful for the outreach performed by campaign workers, especially in Nevada County.
Betancourt took the top spot with 27,786 votes, or 39.1%. Dahle was second with 25,669 votes, or 36.2%.
The remaining three candidates, all Republicans, trailed. Patrick Henry Jones took 12,298 votes, or 17.3%. Joe Turner had 3,943 votes, or 5.6%. Lane Rickard won 1,305 votes, or 1.8%.
A candidate must win at least 50% of the vote plus one vote to avoid a runoff.
Being the lone Democrat in a five-person race gave Betancourt some breathing space, she figured. The Republicans in the race mostly ignored her.
“I know that probably won’t be the case for the general,” she said.
Betancourt intends to use the time before the November election getting her message out. She supports investment and inclusion, building from the ground up and not the top down.
An example of that, Betancourt said, is state dollars going to local transportation agencies that would pay local contractors to build infrastructure projects. She prefers that over the money going to Caltrans.
Betancourt said she understands that she’s talking about state money. However, those funds would bolster local economies if funneled to transportation agencies, which would bring a statewide benefit.
Asked about the vote tally, and the possibility of Republican support consolidating behind Dahle, Betancourt said she has more work to do.
“The party lines are what’s dividing us, not the actual issues,” she added. “That is what I will be emphasizing.”
Betancourt also emphasized the 25.5% turnout districtwide, saying she wants to reach more communities with new ideas and innovations for rural areas.
People texted Dahle on Election Day, saying they still had their ballot and asking what they should do.
It’s a problem that comes with a number of special elections in a short period of time, Dahle said.
Former state Senator Ted Gaines left his District 1 seat for a spot on the Board of Equalization. Brian Dahle, then a state assemblyman, ran for the empty spot in March and in a June runoff, which he won.
That opened his District 1 Assembly seat, which his wife is seeking.
“This is a very conservative seat,” Megan Dahle said.
Megan Dahle said she intends to back away from the campaign for a few days before returning. She noted the November runoff is a little over two months away. A long break from campaigning isn’t possible.
Megan Dahle called herself solution driven and pragmatic. She must do payroll every two weeks for her business — a point her husband made when running for state Senate. Megan Dahle also said she understands the difficulties of doing business in California.
“I like to solve problems, not just talk about them,” she said.
To contact City Editor Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@sierrasun or call 530-477-4239.