State Sen. Sharon Runner’s bill that would give the governor discretion to cancel often costly special elections when only one candidate qualifies for the ballot passed through an Assembly elections committee this week, Runner’s office announced. Senate Bill 49 passed out of the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee on Monday and will head next to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The bill’s latest movement through the state legislature follows its passing in a Senate committee in June and the Senate floor in July. In introducing SB 49 in May, Runner, R-Lancaster, made good on a campaign promise to push for changes to single-contender special elections in which the lone contender can simply be appointed.
In March, Runner was elected to the state’s 21st Senate District by a wide margin in a special election called after incumbent Steve Knight was elected to Congress and his seat became vacated. Runner was the lone candidate to qualify for the ballot, winning more than 92 percent of the vote in San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties against six write-in candidates, who failed to garner anything more than minimal support among district voters.
The election was marked by dismal voter turnout. In this county, 844 voters went to the polls, while a little more than 10,000 voted by mail, according to the county’s elections office.
It cost taxpayers here $221,000 and took $1.4 million from taxpayers in Los Angeles County.