Special election for state Senate seat set for March 25

Special election for state Senate seat set for March 25
Then-state Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Redlands) discusses California's budget at the Capitol. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday called a special election for March 25 to fill a vacancy in the state Senate created when Republican Sen. Bill Emmerson of Redlands abruptly resigned effective Dec. 1.

If no candidate receives a majority vote in March, a runoff election would be held on June 3 to fill the 23rdSenate District seat, which includes parts of Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Officials estimate that it will cost taxpayers up to $1.1 million to hold the special elections to fill the vacancy. Emmerson, 68, was reelected in November 2012.

Emmerson surprised Senate colleagues last month by announcing he was quitting even as he said his health is fine and he is proud of the work he has done.

"I have always felt that one had to be passionate about their work," Emmerson said in a statement at the time. " In these past few months, my passion has waned and my constituents deserve a senator with the level of commitment that I once had."

Assemblyman Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga) has announced his candidacy for the Senate seat.