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District 17 State Senate seat down to Laird, Nohrden 

Unofficial election results across San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties—state Senate District 17—show Democratic candidate John Laird and Republican candidate Vicki Nohrden will now face off in November for the seat.

click to enlarge SPLIT Even though candidate John Laird (left) took home a majority of votes, according to unofficial election results, voters come out for candidate Vicki Nohrden (right) in San Luis Obispo and Santa Clara counties. - PHOTO COURTESY OF BILL MAXFIELD (LEFT); COURTESY OF VICKI NOHRDEN (RIGHT)
  • Photo Courtesy Of Bill Maxfield (left); Courtesy Of Vicki Nohrden (right)
  • SPLIT Even though candidate John Laird (left) took home a majority of votes, according to unofficial election results, voters come out for candidate Vicki Nohrden (right) in San Luis Obispo and Santa Clara counties.

Laird told New Times that he didn't have a party to watch the election results trickle in on March 3 but he did attend six events in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.

"I started in Monterey, went to the Democratic headquarters, went to two supervisors' parties in Santa Cruz, to Watsonville for a ballot measure event, and then went to a community college bond campaign," he said. "So, I didn't have [an event] myself; I just went to everybody else's."

Laird earned a combined total of 72,789 votes, according to preliminary results. He dominated Santa Cruz County with 22,666 votes and Monterey County with 18,374, but fell slightly behind Nohrden in San Luis Obispo County by approximately 11,000 votes and Santa Clara County by 312.

Although votes fell short for Laird in SLO County, Laird said, "I've been to San Luis Obispo 25 times in the last 12 months, and so I'm going to continue to work hard there. I think it'll be very close in November."

Laird's platform includes water resources, climate change that's affected the state's fire seasons, and affordability.

In the No. 2 spot for the state Senate seat is lone Republican candidate Nohrden, who's so far earned a total of 67,736 votes districtwide.

Nohrden's platform includes education, affordability, reducing taxes, and homelessness. The latter she said is a top concern among voters she's spoken to.

"I think that broad support across the counties and especially those two counties [San Luis Obispo and Santa Clara] really shows me that a lot of people are ready for change, and I'm ready to represent that change," she told New Times.

She wants to let residents districtwide know that she's received support from voters of both parties. Nohrden received an endorsement from the former mayor of Grover Beach, Democrat Debbie Peterson, and had Democratic canvassers for her campaign.

Democratic candidate Maria Cadenas came in third with a combined total of 35,022 votes and ended her campaign on a high note.

"I'm honored and humbled by the support and the conversations that we've led. We ran a good campaign and now we just have to keep going," Cadenas said.

Cadenas entered the race, she said, with a focus on the people and the planet. A message she believes candidate Laird will continue to move forward in the general election.

"I hope he does well moving forward and that he continues to raise some of the much needed conversations in Sacramento including the voices of women, the voices of workers, and renters that need to be lifted up," she said. Δ

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