Okay, get out your scorecard if you want to keep track of what’s up with Del Norte County’s representation in Congress and the state Legislature.
The final tally of votes in last month’s general election showed front-runner Jim Nielsen finishing just under the 50 percent mark, meaning he will face Michael Harrington in a Jan. 8 special election for the 4th state Senate District seat formerly held by Doug LaMalfa of Richvale.
LaMalfa resigned to seek a congressional seat, which he won.
Nielsen, a Republican from Gerber, finished with 49.8 percent of the vote in the six-way race but still 1,662 votes short of the 50 percent-plus margin needed to avoid a second run to the ballot box.
Harrington is a Democrat from Magalia. The 4th state Senate District, which currently includes Del Norte County, traditionally elects Republicans.
The winner’s term will last only until 2014. At that time, Del Norte will become part of the 2nd state Senate District due to redistricting. That district is currently represented by Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, and is expected to lean Democratic in its new configuration.
Meanwhile, Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro was sworn in Monday to represent the new 2nd Assembly District created by redistricting. The Arcata Democrat will continue to represent Del Norte, which like Chesbro, was switched from the 1st Assembly District to the 2nd.
The 2013-14 session, his third consecutive term in the Assembly, will be Chesbro’s final session because of term limits.
Because of redistricting, Del Norte is also on the verge of getting a new congressman. Come January, Del Norte will switch to California’s 2nd Congressional District, which elected Democrat Jared Huffman of San Rafael last month.
Del Norte has been represented since 1999 by Democrat Mike Thompson of St. Helena, who was re-elected to Congress in the 1st Congressional District.