The sentencing of Democratic state Sen. Roderick D. Wright to 90 days in jail and a lifetime ban from public office on voting fraud charges Friday could end up requiring a special election but is unlikely to have a significant impact on the ability of Democrats to regain a supermajority in the Senate, officials said. “Starting today, he’s barred from holding any future elective office,” said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office. If the state Senate wants to remove Wright from his current office, it would have to vote to expel him, she said. Wright has not said whether he will resign, but the Senate leadership warned him earlier this year that he would be expelled if he is sentenced to jail and does not step down.
Once Wright’s office is vacant, Gov. Jerry Brown will have 14 days to issue a proclamation calling a special election and it must be set at least 126 days, but not more than 140 days, from the date of his proclamation. The primary for the special election would be held nine or 10 Tuesdays before the special election runoff.
Wright was a moderate, but his heavily Democratic district means he would likely be replaced by a more liberal person.
The Democrats are two votes short of a two-thirds majority. Democratic Sens. Leland Yee of San Francisco and Ronald S. Calderon of Montebello were suspended in March.