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Three Republicans and a Democrat will debate Thursday evening as they head toward a Nov. 2 special election to replace the late Sen. Dave Cox, a longtime GOP legislator who died in July.

The event to meet and hear from the candidates for California's huge Senate District 1 begins at 6:30 p.m. in El Dorado Hills at the Four Seasons Lodge at 3186 Four Seasons Drive. The forum is sponsored by the Four Seasons Civic League.

The actual debate will start at 7 p.m. with three-minute presentations by the candidates followed by questions from the audience. A representative from the El Dorado League of Women Voters League will moderate.

GOP voter registration has the edge in the district, which is the largest in the state. It stretches along the eastern spine of the state from the Sacramento suburbs north to the Oregon border and south to Mono County.

The Nov. 2 special election takes place the same day as the upcoming general election. But the rules are different. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote on Nov. 2, a runoff election with each party's top vote-getter will be held Jan. 4.

The candidates are Barbara Alby, a Folsom Republican and former legislator; Ken Cooley, a Democrat and mayor of Rancho Cordova; Assemblyman Ted Gaines, R-Roseville; and Assemblyman Roger Niello, R-Fair Oaks.


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