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Runoff looms for 4th State Senate District race

Final election results from Sutter County show unchanged results in county races, but suggest a runoff is more likely for a state legislative seat.

With 177,271 votes across the 4th State Senate District, Assemblyman Jim Nielsen had 50 percent of the vote after Sutter's count was final Tuesday. Though more than any other candidate in the six-person field, Nielsen's total would be short — by three votes — of the total necessary to win the seat outright.

To avoid a runoff, a candidate must receive at least 50 percent of the vote, plus one. However, the results across the entire senate district — encompassing all or parts of 12 counties, including both Yuba and Sutter — are still being determined, with thousands of unprocessed ballots still in Nevada and Butte counties alone.

However, if the results so far in those counties persists, Nielsen, R-Gerber, is more likely to face a runoff, as he is well below the threshold to avoid one in both places.

If there is a runoff, probably on Jan. 8, Nielsen would likely face Democrat Mickey Harrington, a Magalia resident who's unsuccessfully run for Assembly three times.

Harrington's 28 percent of the vote is easily second most to Nielsen. Overall voter registration favors Republicans in the district, which is being contested under boundaries used before redistricting last year.

The previous boundaries are in effect because the special election is for the last two years of the term won by Rep.-elect Doug LaMalfa, who won the State Senate seat in 2010 and stepped down earlier this year to run for a congressional seat.

Other results from Sutter County were unchanged from the first ballots counted on Election Day, where John Dukes and Kash Gill won Yuba City City Council seats, incumbent Gary Baland and challenger Lakhvir Ghag led for the Live Oak City Council, and Ron Sullenger won a runoff for Sutter County Board of Supervisors, District 1.

Yuba County results were finalized last week.

There, too, the results were the same as those on Election Day.

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