On Tuesday voters in Northeastern California will choose between two candidates to become their new Assembly member.
For seven years, the 1st Assembly District, which consists of a large swath of Northern California bordering both Northwestern Nevada and Southeastern Oregon, had Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) as representation in Sacramento. But in June, following the resignation of former Senator Ted Gaines, Brian Dahle was elected to the state Senate.
Since then, two candidates have fought tooth and nail to take the open Assembly position: Republican Megan Dahle and Democrat Elizabeth Betancourt. While most elections in the area tend to go to Republicans due to the large number of Conservative leaning counties in the district, the 2019 election is showing to be closer than usual, with two candidates who have had little elected experience in a state that has made former Republican strongholds toss-ups in recent years.
For the Republicans, Megan Dahle seems to be the candidate who can hold the district for the party. The wife of now Sen. Brian Dahle, her election would follow in the footsteps of previous husband-wife Senator-Assembly member pairings like Ted and Beth Gaines, and George and Sharon Runner, earlier in the decade.
Megan Dahle, a wheat farmer along with her husband, had previously served as President of the Big Valley Joint Unified School Board. Throughout her campaign she has supported issues such as small business, water storage, addressing homelessness and crime, and fire prevention. She has also been very vocal about both rural values and education.
“I believe that local government is an essential part of ensuring that our taxes come back to our communities,” said Betancourt in an open letter. “It’s small businesses that make our rural economy strong and drive the state’s economy. All of us, working together and doing what we do best creates more opportunity, more jobs, and a better quality of life for everyone. I’ve seen the challenges faced by rural communities dealing with a changing economy, mismanaged landscapes, increasing global economic pressures, and limited rural infrastructure funding. The North State is an essential part of California’s past, and provides solutions for California’s future challenges. This is why I am running to be a new voice for the North State in Sacramento.”
Dahle has taken more money from questionable sources that usually don’t sit well with most voters, such as nearly $10,000 from Philip Morris and several donations from drug makers in campaign contributions.
Despite this, Dahle still has a substantial lead thanks to the Republican base in the district, as well as her stance on issues in the region resonating more with voters than Betancourt’s.
The 1st Assembly District special election is to be held on Tuesday, November 5th.