Credit: Courtesy | John Laird

This story will be updated as results come in throughout the night.

Democrat John Laird is leading with 250,526 votes ahead of Republican Vicki Nohrden with 117,837 votes for the State Senate District 17 race as of 9:27 a.m., according to the Secretary of State website.

John Laird 

Laird served as Secretary for Natural Resources from 2011 to 2018 under Gov. Jerry Brown, represented District 27 in the California State Assembly from 2002 to 2008 and was on the Santa Cruz City Council from 1981 to 1990. He was one of the first openly gay mayors in America and served two terms in this office, according to his campaign website.

Laird’s campaign focused on affordable healthcare and housing, funding for public education and climate change.

On his website, Laird stated his commitment to partnering with the private sector, housing nonprofits and local government to create more affordable housing and worked on the 2006 Affordable Housing Bond while in the State Assembly.

He said he ensured protection to Californians who have recently secured health care, and to those who are not yet covered.

Laird’s priorities include reducing “financial barriers” for students, according to his campaign website.  This priority will protect K-14 and higher education. 

His campaign also emphasized lowering carbon emissions, controlling and preventing wildfires in California and protecting leadership with ocean policy.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and State Senate District 17 incumbent Bill Monning all indorsed Laird this year.

Vicki Nohrden

Nohrden was previously a realtor, and later became a youth director at a Presbyterian church in Carmel and a court appointed special advocate for children, according to her website.  Nohrden was also a family liaison in the juvenile justice system and a member of the Civil Grand Jury for a term and a half.

Nohrden’s platform concentrated on supporting families and small businesses, community safety and supporting Prop 13 — a measure to authorize $15 billion in general obligation bonds for K-12 schools, community colleges and universities. 

Her campaign advocated for programs to support children’s growth and integrated solutions for mental health and substance abuse. Nohrden said she does not support defunding the police, but advocates for a transparent and accountable police force.

Nohrden said she wants smarter taxation of businesses and repealing Prop 13 will create costs for small businesses, according to her website.

Nohrden is endorsed by State Senate Minority Leader Shannon Grove, State Senator Mike Morrell and Ventura County GOP Chair Mike Osborn.

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