Capitol Alert

Richard Pan wins California Senate seat, Jim Cooper and Kevin McCarty to Assembly

Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, has won a spot in the state Senate in a Sacramento race that sat atop the list of most expensive intraparty contests, while Sacramento Councilman Kevin McCarty and Elk Grove Councilman Jim Cooper claimed Assembly seats.

Pan led Dickinson by some 6,700 votes when the Associated Press declared him the winner after midnight.

After holding the seat for years and leading Senate Democrats through a period of fiscal turmoil, Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, has to leave office because of term limits. Both Dickinson and Pan could have served another term in the Assembly if they had not run for the upper house.

While both men generally fit the mold of liberal Democrats, they have differed on a range of issues that include healthcare and the environment. And despite the race having no bearing on Democratic hopes of re-establishing a two-thirds supermajority in the Senate, it attracted more than $3.7 million in independent expenditures.

The map below shows the precinct vote as of this morning. Precincts won by Pan are orange and precincts carried by Dickinson are green. Precincts where the candidates tied are purple.

The departure of Pan and Dickinson from the Assembly led to a pair of additional Democrat-on-Democrat legislative races in the Sacramento area.

McCarty trounced his colleague, Sacramento Councilman Steve Cohn, as the two Democrats sought to replace Dickinson in the 7th Assembly District, which includes most of Sacramento and West Sacramento. McCarty led by 17 points with 100 percent of precincts reporting in unofficial results. Thousands of late-arriving mail and provisional ballots remain to be counted.

In the contest to replace Pan in the Sacramento-to-Lodi 9th Assembly District, Cooper defeated Sacramento Councilman Darrell Fong by 12 percentage points, capping a race that pitted the two law enforcement veterans against each other.

Two other incumbents held on for easy victories. Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, defeated Republican challenger Douglas Haaland by nearly ten percentage points and Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, R-Rocklin, easily dispatched Democrat Brian Caples.

Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543.