Megan and Brian Dahle dominate Assembly, state Senate races |

Megan and Brian Dahle dominate Assembly, state Senate races

Sierra Sun staff

District 1 state Sen. Brian Dahle, who won his seat in a 2019 special election, will head into the general election as the frontrunner after winning Tuesday’s primary election in convincing fashion.

Dahle, a Republican from Bieber and the former District 1 Assembly member, had 134,068 votes, nearly double the 70,515 vote total of Nevada County Democrat Pamela Swartz. Dahle took 61.6% of the vote to Swartz’s 32.4% Regardless of the margin of victory, those two will advance to the November general election.

Linda Kelleher, a former Nevada County school board member, finished third with 6% of the vote.

The results are incomplete and unofficial.

District 1 is comprised of part or all of 11 counties, including El Dorado, Nevada and Placer counties.

Dahle has said he ran for the seat because he’s dedicated to the state and making life easier for business owners. His policy proposals mostly revolve around expanding broadband in rural districts, and helping business owners and homeowners lower their fire insurance rates. He also wants to help resolve homelessness, which he said is a policy he’s prioritizing while partnering with Democrats.

“I have a great relationship with my colleagues across the aisle,” Dahle said.

Swartz, running for public office for the first time, said she promotes Medicare for All, believing that health care is a “right, not a privilege.” She’s running to reduce homelessness and to expand gun control legislation.


Megan Dahle, Brian Dahle’s wife, emerged from Tuesday’s primary with 54.6% of the state Assembly District 1 vote. Dahle, a Republican, will advance to the general election against a familiar opponent, Democrat Elizabeth Betancourt.

Megan Dahle had 59,537 votes, compared to Betancourt’s 38,793 votes. Newcomer PK “Paul” Dhanuka, meanwhile, ran as a no party preference candidate and finished third with 10,613 votes.

“I am honored and humbled by the continued confidence from the constituents and voters in the 1st Assembly District,” Megan Dahle said Tuesday. “Tonight’s results are a clear indication on the trust people of the 1st District have placed in me to represent them in Sacramento.”

Betancourt and Dahle have faced each other twice before when they ran in an August 2019 special election for the seat vacated by Brian Dahle, after he won a seat in the state Senate. Betancourt and Megan Dahle were the top two vote-getters in a primary involving five candidates. Then, again in November, Megan Dahle beat Betancourt 58% to 42%.

Tuesday’s primary saw Megan Dahle take 54.6% of the vote to Betancourt’s 35.6%.

Betancourt has called her experience a plus, saying, “I have been an advocate for rural communities and issues for 20 years. Our advocates at the Capitol are not bringing resources home. I believe in our community, and we deserve better — and we can be better. We need our representative to recognize that we have the ability to create a community that serves everyone.”

Megan Dahle was sworn in to her husband’s Assembly seat in November, but has really been on the job only since the Legislature reconvened on Jan. 6.

The district is comprised of part or all of nine counties, including Nevada and Placer counties.

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