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Gaines leads in state Senate special election

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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State Assemblyman Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, was holding onto an early lead against Republicans Roger Niello and Barbara Alby and Democrat Ken Cooley in a special election to succeed the late District 1 state Sen. Dave Cox. Cox, R-Fair Oaks, died last summer, setting up a special election today that requires the winner to poll a majority of votes. With Gaines leading the four-candidate pack with 32.2 percent of the vote and 33 percent of District 1 votes in, he was in line to face Cooley in a two-party, two-candidate run-off Jan. 4. Cooley, of Rancho Cordova, was in second place, with 30.8 percent of the vote. He said the total included a strong showing in Amador County. “But it’s too early to tell (who he would face),” Cooley said. Roger Niello, a former state legislator, was still awaiting Sacramento County vote totals before commenting on results, spokeswoman Stephanie Jantzen said. Niello was in third place, with 24.7 percent of the vote. Folsom’s Barbara Alby was trailing, with 12.3 percent of vote totals. Cooley said it would be “quite an accomplishment” if one of the District 1 candidates crossed the 50 percent vote-total threshold Tuesday. “We’d all say that person deserves to be senator,” Cooley said. But Cooley added that the district was too large and covered too many disparate demographic areas to provide even a guess with early returns in on which Republican would face him in a January special election.