Dead Candidate Could Win Congressional Seat in California


california-dead-candidateDeceased candidate Democrat Jenny Oropeza is still holding strong, early ballot data shows that she has nearly a 7 percentage point lead over Republican candidate John Stammreich.

Despite the death of 53-year-old incumbent Oropeza, she still has a likely chance to win the race for State Senate in the 28th district. Because her death on Oct. 20 was within 10 days of the election, her name remains on the ballot.

A week after her death, Democrats sent out mailers to residents, calling for voters to still reelect Oropeza. The mailers featured Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Democratic Party general counsel Martha Escutia.

Republicans responded to the mailers, filing a complaint that the pamphlets were too similar to official election documents and were confusing voters, violating California law. Oropeza’s Republican opponent John Stammreich and GOP Chairman Ron Nehring filed the complaint.

“The Republicans are trying to take unfair advantage of Jenny’s tragedy,” the mailer reads, according to the LA Times. “They suggest that voting for Jenny will only result in a costly Special Election. I am asking you to vote for Jenny Oropeza. If a Special Election is called in a few months, you’ll have the chance to thoughtfully elect your Senator for a new four-year term.”

“This is wrong,” Stammreich told the Daily Breeze. “This is the chief elections officer who is supposed to be safeguarding the election process. Instead, she has given her name and her office to an illegal attempt to sway this election.”

Democrats deny that the mailers could be construed as official documents, citing that it was made clear that they were paid for by the California Democratic Party.

If Oropeza wins the election, the governor will have two weeks to declare her seat empty, and schedule a special election within three to four months. This allows Democrats a chance to find a new candidate to run for Oropeza’s seat.

The 28th district includes parts of Los Angeles, Long Beach and the South Bay. The district is largely Democratic.

{NBC Los Angeles/ Election Center}