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The name of Sen. Jenny Oropeza, who died last night, will remain on the Nov. 2 ballot as a candidate for re-election to the 28th Senate District, election officials said this morning

The 53-year-old Long Beach Democrat died 12 days before the election. Her name is already on the ballot -- some of which have already been cast by absentee voters -- and state law prevents calling a special election to fill a vacant office within 68 days of an election.

Oropeza was expected to win re-election in the district, where Democrats have a 20-plus point registration advantage. The other candidates running for the seat are Republican John Stammreich, an aerospace contracts manager, and Libertarian David Ruskin, a physician.

If Oropeza wins, a special election will be called after members are sworn in for the new term in early December, according to the secretary of state's office.

"If Sen. Oropeza receives a majority of the votes cast on Nov. 2, then she will be considered elected and then the office will be vacant at the beginning of the term at which she was elected," said Nicole Winger, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

The special primary would not occur until after the new year. Because the election will be called in December, it is unclear whether the race would be the state's first primary under the new voter-approved "top two" system, which takes effect Jan. 1.


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