SACRAMENTO — Stung by their loss in a special election earlier this week, state Senate Republicans today picked Sen. Ken Maddy of Fresno as their new leader, ousting Sen. Jim Nielsen of Rohnert Park. They also named conservative Sen. John Doolittle of Citrus Heights to the No. 2 job of caucus chairman, replacing Sen. John Seymour of Anaheim.
Nielsen's leadership of the minority party was considered threatened even before Tuesday's election in a suburban Los Angeles-Orange County district, in which Democrat Cecil Green defeated the GOP's Wayne Grisham, and the loss appeared to clinch the leadership issue. Green's victory gives the Democrats a 24-15 majority in the upper house, with one seat occupied by an independent.