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Republicans win two special election races

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January 5, 2011

Ted Gaines (R) won a special election to the California State Senate on January 4, 2011. He defeated Ken Cooley (D).

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.[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.[2]

In Iowa, Joni Ernst (R) defeated Ruth Smith (D) with 67 percent of the vote.[3]


Partisan impact

California Republicans still trail the Democratic Party in the state Senate, as the current partisan breakdown is 24-14 with 2 vacancies.[4] Gaines victory in District 1 was expected, as Republicans hold an 11-point advantage in voter registration.[1]

California Senate Partisan Balance

Party As of March 2015
     Democratic Party 25
     Republican Party 12
     Vacancy 3
Total 40

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."[5]

Iowa Senate Partisan Balance

Party As of March 2015
     Democratic Party 26
     Republican Party 24
Total 50

Gaines is currently a state assemblyman, and his victory will likely trigger another special election to fill his now former seat.[4]

See also

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