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Gaines bests Campanale in 4th District Assembly special election

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Republican Beth Gaines was on her way to a special election win against Assembly District 4 opponent Dennis Campanale on Tuesday. Gaines had secured a comfortable 10-percentage-point lead early on from absentee ballots and with low voter turnout not expected to shift the election her Democratic Party opponent’s way, was confident enough to declare herself the winner at 9:30 p.m. – I½ hours after polls had closed. The California Secretary of State had Gaines leading with 55.4 percent of the vote, with 80 percent of District 4's precincts partially reporting. Campanale had garnered 44.6 percent. By the numbers, Gaines had 38,190 votes to Campanale's 30,764. “This is just the beginning – not the end,” Gaines said, to hearty applause at an election-night party in a Roseville hotel. “I feel something great is about to happen.” Gaines told about 100 supporters, including her husband, state Sen. Ted Gaines, 4th District Sen. Doug La Malfa, R-Redding, and Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway of Tulare, that she sees a movement growing to bring jobs back and attract business to California and the 4th Assembly District. Beth Gaines not only succeeds her husband as District 4 Assembly member but also joins Ted Gaines in the Capitol. Gaines was elected state senator for the 1st District in January. When he stepped down from his Assembly seat, his wife of 25 years threw her hat in the ring with seven other candidates. “I think she’s going to do a great job, with a woman’s perspective,” Ted Gaines said. “She has unique talents. She’s incredibly good with people and has a real interest in education, family and healthcare. She’ll serve the state and the 4th District well.” Campanale and Beth Gaines emerged as the top two vote-getters in the March 8 primary, leading to Tuesday’s election. Both Campanale and Gaines had never held elected office. Campanale ran against Ted Gaines for the District 4 Assembly seat in November and lost. Bogdan Ambrozewicz, one of the seven Republicans running in the March 8 primary, said Tuesday that he was disappointed in the way the election went and Beth Gaines’s victory. “Basically she just bought the election with her husband’s name and connections,” Ambrozewicz said. “Ted Gaines got greedy. It’s not about qualifications. It’s how much money you have and how you market yourself. She basically fooled people and it’s too bad. Our district could be better-represented.” Attempts to reach Campanale for a comment Tuesday were unsuccessful. He said last week that without state Democratic Party financial support, his chances of winning were “slight.” Gaines, a Roseville resident, stressed job creation and business support during a campaign that started in January. While Campanale ran a low-key campaign with little voter outreach and sparse funding, Gaines raised more than $250,000 and visited many of the communities in the district. Campanale raised less than $5,000. The 4th District takes in much of Placer County and El Dorado County, with all of tiny Alpine County and a small portion of Sacramento County also inside its boundaries.