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Special Election To Fill Fresno Seat In California Assembly

  

(AP) — A physician is competing with a Fresno city councilman for a vacant seat in the state Assembly that's critical to Democrats' goal of a two-thirds majority.

A Tuesday special election could decide the replacement of former Democratic Assemblyman Henry Perea, who left office in December to take a job in the pharmaceutical industry.

Democrat Joaquin Arambula, an emergency room doctor, and Republican Clint Olivier, a former reporter and Marine Corps Reserve radioman, are sparring to fill the remaining eight months of Perea's term.

Agriculture and oil interests dominate the district, but the majority of voters live in the suburbs south of Fresno. A Republican last held the seat in 1976.

Democrats currently hold 51 of the 80 Assembly seats; 54 votes are needed for the ability to raise taxes.