Five people are running for the District 1 state Senate seat.
Republicans Brian Dahle, 53, of Bieber; Theodore Dziuba, 34, of Placerville; Rex Hime, 70, of Sacramento; Kevin Kiley, 34, of Rocklin; and Democrat Silke Pflueger, 53, of Truckee, are running for the seat vacated when Ted Gaines won a spot on the state Board of Equalization.
Democrat Steve Baird has dropped out of the race, though his name will still appear on the ballot.
The March 26 election already is underway for El Dorado County voters.
A candidate must win at least 50 percent plus one vote to secure the seat. If no one candidate does, the top two vote-getters will advance to a June 4 runoff.
The district includes all of or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.
Brian Dahle points to his accomplishments in the Assembly when asked why he's running for office.
As the District 1 assemblyman, Dahle said he's brought 110 legislators to the area. A view from District 1 makes them realize this wide swath of the North State is different from the rest of California.
"Our health care systems are spread out differently," he said.
As a state senator Dahle said he can educate that chamber about the North State and be more effective in serving his constituents.
Dahle said he's been successful in the Assembly. He pointed to $1 billion for vegetation management he helped secure before the Paradise fire erupted.
Additionally, Dahle noted that he's a business owner who has a payroll every two weeks.
Dahle said he can accomplish goals in the Legislature as a minority party member by working with Democrats on goals they share. He pointed to the Bridgeport Bridge restoration as one example.
An assemblyman since 2013, Dahle said public safety is a key goal of his. He wants funding for both law enforcement and firefighters.
Some propositions have changed certain crimes to misdemeanors and released others from prison early, Dahle said.
The assemblyman said he worked on the "Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act," an initiative that will appear on the 2020 ballot.
If passed, the act would reclassify certain crimes as violent and stop the early release of prison inmates.
Theodore Dziuba is quick to explain why he's running for state Senate.
Dziuba wants to stop illegal immigration. He also wants to eliminate the sanctuary state.
These, along with the protection of Second Amendment rights, are messages he emphasizes in person and on his website.
"I think our Republican leadership has failed us pretty significantly," Dziuba said.
Dziuba wants more Republicans elected to office, though he concedes that goal is long term.
Electing Republicans to local offices like district attorney and sheriff can lead to a piecemeal dissolution of the sanctuary state. According to Dziuba, counties can opt out. Get enough that refuse to be a sanctuary and the status dissipates.
"The more liberal counties certainly are not going to want to do that," he said.
A member of the Placerville Planning Commission, Dziuba sees his goals as public safety and moral issues. Immigrants who come to this country legally have respect for the law, he said.
"I think it's a moral duty for us, especially as conservatives, to begin addressing it," he said.
The founder of three companies in this state, Dziuba said state government makes it difficult to run a business. Taxes and fees burden business owners.
"It's like they're trying to kick business out," Dziuba said.
Rex Hime touts his experience in the public and private sectors, noting that he worked with Ronald Reagan when he served as governor of California. However, he's never held political office and calls himself an outsider.
Hime said neither major political party is providing the governance that's needed. Republicans say "No." Democrats say they hate President Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, there's a significant part of the state that isn't getting the representation it needs.
"The rest of us, I think, are given short shrift," Hime said. "I can help set a tone."
Hime said he can properly articulate why any particular issue is good or bad. He wants to explain what he called basic principles: what's best for the economy and families, and how to move the state forward.
Pointing to state Senate District 1, Hime said forests must be thinned to ensure the blazes that tore through Paradise don't happen again.
Urban areas in the district suffer from homelessness. The state has high poverty, yet says it's the fifth largest economy in the world, Hime said.
"There are several things we can do to make things better," he added.
Taking a jab at Assemblymen Brian Dahle and Kevin Kiley, Hime said their elevation to the state Senate would require another election to fill their newly vacated Assembly seat.
"I'm the candidate that isn't going to cost everybody more money," Hime said.
Kevin Kiley said California has not fared well under one party dominance. He said the state is in trouble and new leadership is needed.
"I think I'm well positioned to do that," Kiley said.
The District 6 assemblyman for two years, Kiley said he's found the key to success — advance good legislation that addresses the issues.
Kiley argued that voters should look at the state of California. He said it features high housing costs, high crime, a failing educational system and a low quality of life.
Republicans must show that these failures have come because of government policies, and that they can move the state in the right direction.
Asked about the issues, Kiley said taxes must be reduced.
"The gas tax was totally unjustified," he added.
Taxes like that make it more difficult to live in California and lead some people to flee the state, Kiley said.
Additionally, Kiley said public safety must be improved and the sanctuary state reversed.
He called the March 26 election extremely important, saying voters must decide whether they want a viable Republican Party. Some believe Republicans should merge with Democrats, an argument he fundamentally opposes.
To become relevant Republicans must have an agenda and properly communicate their goals to everyone.
"That's what I'm prepared to do," he said.
The only Democrat running for the District 1 state Senate seat, Silke Pflueger said she wants to offer voters an alternative.
Pflueger, an active member of Tahoe Truckee Indivisible, said Democrats are making gains in red districts like District 1. She pointed to Audrey Denney's run against U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa.
LaMalfa won in November with 54.9 percent of the vote. Denney took Nevada County — the first for a Democrat since LaMalfa won his seat in 2012.
"I really want to build on that and keep the excitement up that we had in the midterms," Pflueger said. "I felt, you know, somebody had to do it."
A German immigrant, Pflueger said she has two engineering degrees. Her background leads her to analyze topics in a different way than attorneys, dissect those issues and find solutions. She brings a vision that's different from the other candidates.
Pflueger's concerns focus on the housing crisis, fire resiliency and health care. She wants to work on public and private partnerships to bring more housing to the district, ensure homeowners can obtain insurance and have affordable and accessible health care.
According to Pflueger, Democrats must state what they stand for and what they'd bring to office if elected.
"We can deepen that message and win that way," she said. "We have to keep running."
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4239.