Two states -- California and Iowa -- held special elections on January 4, 2011 to fill vacant senate seats. Republicans won both races.
In California, Ted Gaines (R) defeated Ken Cooley (D) with 63.2 percent of the vote to gain election to District 1. The seat was vacated when Senator Dave Cox (R) passed away on July 13, 2010. Cox died after a 13-year struggle with prostate cancer. Cox was 72.
In Iowa, Joni Ernst (R) defeated Ruth Smith (D) with 67 percent of the vote.
California Republicans still trail the Democratic Party in the state Senate, as the current partisan breakdown is 24-14 with 2 vacancies. Gaines victory in District 1 was expected, as Republicans hold an 11-point advantage in voter registration.
California Senate Partisan Balance
The Democratic Party now holds a slim lead of 26-24 in the Iowa State Senate. Ernst replaces Kim Reynolds, who was elected in the November 2010 race to serve as Lt. Governor. Commenting on Ernst's victory, Reynolds said, "Joni is a longtime friend who will serve the district well and I cannot think of a better individual to occupy this Senate seat. Joni will be instrumental as we strive to achieve our ambitious goals."
Iowa Senate Partisan Balance
Gaines is currently a state assemblyman, and his victory will likely trigger another special election to fill his now former seat.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Sacramento Bee, "GOP's Gaines easily wins special Senate race," January 5, 2011
- ↑ Capitol Weekly, "Dave Cox dies at 72," July 13, 2010
- ↑ Des Moines Register, "Republican Ernst wins state Senate seat," January 5, 2011
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Roseville Press-Tribune, "Ted Gaines wins Senate race," January 4, 2011
- ↑ Iowa Politics, "Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Reynolds: Statement on Joni Ernst victory," January 5, 2011