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Results Too Close to Call in AD 45 Special Election

November 20, 2013
In a surprising turn of events, the special general election held in the heavily Democratic Assembly District (AD) 45 yesterday remains too close to call. The most recent Secretary of State (SOS) results show a razor-thin vote margin of less than 1 percent currently separating Democrat Matt Dababneh from Republican Susan Shelley.
County election officials have until Dec. 2 to count and send vote results to the SOS. Once received, the SOS has until Dec. 27 to officially certify the results and declare a winner.
The election in AD 45 was believed by many to be an easy win for Democratic challenger Dababneh because an estimated 49 percent of registered district voters are Democrats. Experts speculate that low voter turnout caused the extremely close results. Out of AD 45’s some 257,000 registered voters, a little more than 26,000 voted in Tuesday’s election. While low voter turnout in special elections is nothing out of the ordinary, such close vote margins in a clearly safe Democratic district is definitely something that was unexpected in AD 45. Election experts also speculate that running on a platform to protect Proposition 13 may have drummed up unanticipated voter support for Republican challenger Shelley.
Assembly Democrats are currently one seat shy of holding the coveted 54 vote two-thirds supermajority due to two house vacancies. In theory, if the dominant party holds a supermajority, it has the power to pass urgency measures, approve tax levies, place proposals on the state ballot and override gubernatorial vetoes. Should Democrats ultimately lose the AD 45 seat, they are sure to secure the open AD 54 seat because all certified candidates are Democrats; thus, reinstating their supermajority status for the upcoming 2014 legislative session. The special primary election in AD 54 is set for Dec. 3. when it is expected that one candidate will win the election outright resulting in no run-off election.     

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