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Butte County Democrats Call For Election To Fill Vacant Chico City Council Seats

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Andre Byik
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David Welch, secretary of the Butte County Democratic Party, center, is flanked by supporters calling for a special election to fill two vacant seats on the Chico City Council.

The Butte County Democratic Party is calling for a special election to fill two vacant seats on the Chico City Council.

Local party officials say the voters of Chico should fill the seats vacated by council members Scott Huber and Kami Denlay. Both of them resigned this month.

The city charter allows the City Council to fill vacant seats by either appointment or election.

David Welch, secretary of the Butte County Democratic Party, spoke Monday at a press conference in front of Chico city hall, saying, “It seems completely unjustified for the remainder of the council to go ahead and fill these seats by appointment when there’s a possibility to let the voters weigh in on this – to let the voters be heard.”

To keep costs down, Welch called on election officials to explore combining a special election with the attempted recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Chico City Clerk Debbie Presson said that may not be possible because of timing requirements. She also noted a date has not yet been set for the governor’s recall election.

“So again, we’re still out there on our own, not sharing the burden of cost with anyone else,” Presson said. “It’ll be the city of Chico picking up the tab for the special election.”

The City Council currently holds a conservative majority, and it’s unclear how it will fill the vacant positions.

The council is next scheduled to meet July 6.