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Republican Assemblyman Ted Gaines plans to resign his position in the lower house and take the oath of office as a state senator Thursday, according to Steve Davey, his chief of staff.

The Roseville Republican trounced Rancho Cordova Mayor Ken Cooley, 63 percent to 37 percent, to win the Senate seat vacated by the July death of Sen. Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks.

"He's honored, he's humbled by the support - and he has big shoes to fill," Davey said of Gaines, owner of an insurance business and former Placer County supervisor who came to the Assembly in 2006, then was re-elected in 2008 and again in November.

Gaines is scheduled to join the Senate even before the state makes Tuesday's results official by certifying the election. Shannan Velayas, spokeswoman for the secretary of state, said there is nothing illegal about doing so and that the timing of taking oaths is left to the legislative house involved.

Mark Hedlund, Senate spokesman, confirmed that Gaines swearing-in is scheduled for Thursday morning.

The outcome of the Senate race is not in doubt, with Gaines defeating his Democratic opponent in all 12 counties of the 1st District -- including Sacramento, which backed Gaines by a margin of 59 percent to 41 percent. The district stretches from Mono County to the Oregon border in Modoc County.

Gaines' Assembly seat, representing Alpine and portions of Placer, Sacramento and El Dorado counties, will be filled by a special election.

California law gives new Gov. Jerry Brown 14 days to call a special election after a legislative vacancy occurs. Balloting would occur between 112 and 126 days of the governor's declaration.


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