Jun 21, 2010 9:37 PM by Ariel Wesler
We're just one day away from California's special election to fill its 15th District state senate seat.
District 15 covers the Central Coast from Monterey County to northern Santa Barbara County. It's a hotly contested race between Former Democratic Assemblyman John Laird from Santa Cruz and Republican Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee from San Luis Obispo.
The state's 15th senate district lines the California Coast and after the crisis in the gulf, that has been the main focus while campaiging for this special election.
Reporter: Oil companies have contributed to your campaign.
"Sure and oil companies have put oil in Mr. Laird's gas tank that he drives to work everyday," Blakeslee said.
"I have a 25 year history of opposing it and I have the support of every major environmental organization in this race," Laird said.
Offshore oil drilling isn't the only slippery slope both candidates have been debating. They agree the top priority is fixing California's financial failures through budget reform, but they disagree on exactly how.
"It's a fundamental difference. We're both going to protect the coast. He's going to raise taxes. I'll fight to keep your taxes low," Blakeslee said.
"It's going to take a whole measure of things including cuts and probably some additional revenue to get through this, and I think people that take a hard pledge one way or another is the reason there's gridlock in Sacramento," Laird said.
Regardless, what may seem like a minor election is crucial for both parties. If laird wins, the Democrats would be just one seat away from a two-thirds supermajority in the senate--making it easier to pass key legislation.
Low turnout is a concern in this election and usually favors the Republicans. Democrats are saying holding this special election two weeks after the primary was part of Gov. Schwarzennegar's plan to fill Maldonado's seat with another Republican.
If none of the four candidates in this election get 50 percent of the vote, they will all move on to a general election on August 17th.
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