Democratic State Sen.
Wright, who was threatened with an expulsion vote if he did not step down, agreed to step down but asked for a week to say goodbye to his staff and constituents.
"Effective Sept. 22, 2014, I hereby resign from the
"It's painful," Wright said in an interview. "At the end of the day you want to consider what's the best thing for the house and that was the best thing for the house."
Wright has said in the past that he was wrongly convicted and plans to appeal but did not want to talk about his guilt or innocence. "It doesn't matter what I think at this point. You have to move on with your life," he said.
"The Pro Tem has accepted his resignation," said Rhys Williams, a spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem
Wright, 62, was sentenced Friday to jail time, a lifetime ban from holding future public office, three years' probation and 1,500 hours of community service. He was ordered to surrender and begin serving his sentence Oct. 31.
Wright had originally proposed to step down Oct. 31, but Senate Democratic leaders worried the longer he stayed in office the bigger issue it would become in the Nov. 4 election, where their party is struggling to regain a two-thirds majority. In agreeing to delay Wright's resignation one week, Senate leaders considered that it would cost about $20,000 to reconvene the Senate, which had adjourned until December, for an expulsion vote.
Wright's resignation triggers a process that gives Gov. Jerry Brown 14 days from his departure to call a special election to fill the remaining two years of Wright’s term in the 35th Senate District seat. The special election must be set at least 126 days, but not more than 140 days, from the date of the governor’s proclamation. The primary for the special election would be held nine or 10 Tuesdays before the special election runoff.
Within minutes of Wright’s announcement, Democratic Assemblymen
Bradford said he brings to the election "Seventeen years of a solid track record of public service."
Hall issued a statement saying he is running for the senate "to further expand economic opportunity, create more good paying jobs, and to bolster our K-12 and higher education systems so that they are second to none."
Senate Democrats lost their supermajority earlier this year by voting to suspend Wright and Democratic Sens.
The last time a senator was expelled was in 1905, when Sens. Harry Bunkers, E.J. Emmons, Frank French and Eli Wright were expelled for "malfeasance in office," state officials said.