Due in large part to an curiously timed Senate special election that resulted in Vanessa Delgado winning her special election (but not the primary for the new term beginning November 30th), Senator Delgado has been sworn in to an unusually short term in office.
It’s worth noting that this election almost didn’t happen. If Senator Mendoza had resigned just a little over two weeks later, the election wouldn’t have happened. California law makes it clear that if a legislative vacancy occurs after the close of the nomination period, no special election will be held and the office will remain vacant through the rest of the term.
When a vacancy occurs in a legislative office after the close of the nomination period in the final year of the term of office, no special election shall be held.
Elections Code Section 10701 (b)
In the case of the Senate District 32 vacancy, Senator Mendoza resigned on February 22nd, 16 days before the end of the filing period (March 9th).
Now, some fun facts about Senator Delgado’s term in office:
- Senator Delgado will be the shortest-serving State Senator in more than a century. The last Senator to serve a shorter term was Orrin Z. Hubbell, a Republican who served 15 weeks in 1903 before he died in office.
- Senate District 32 in 2018 will be the first time in California history that three Senators have represented a single Senate seat in one calendar year. Tony Mendoza held the seat between January 1st and his resignation on February 22. Vanessa Delgado will hold the seat from August 9 until the end of the current term on November 30. The candidate who wins the General Election in November will assume office on December 3.
- With the election of a new Senator in the November General Election, this will be the first time in California history that three Senators have represented a single Senate seat (SD-32) in one calendar year.
- At 17 weeks in office before the end of the term, Vanessa Delgado will be the shortest-serving female legislator in state history, replacing Assemblywoman Laura Richardson (who served 39 weeks in 2006-07).
- Senator Delgado will be the 157th woman to serve in the California State Legislature, and the 46th to serve in the Senate.
- Senator Delgado will be the sixth woman elected to the State Senate without ever having served in the Assembly are in office now. Senator Delgado joins Senators Leyva and Nguyen to bring the number currently in office to three.
- Senator Delgado will be the seventh woman elected to the State Senate in a special election (although women have been elected to the Senate in special elections eight times; Sharon Runner won special elections in 2011 and 2015).
- In the past 50 years, only one California state legislator has left office without authoring a single bill that became law. Assemblyman Adrian C. Fondse, who served for 35 days in 1980-81, is the only California state legislator who didn’t have a single bill chaptered.