SACRAMENTO -- After weeks of nasty campaigning and spending that topped $5 million, Republican farmer Andy Vidak holds a lead of nearly 6,000 votes over Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez as voters went to the polls Tuesday in a Central Valley state Senate race that could still be days away from being settled.
The California secretary of State's office said Wednesday morning that Vidak has just over 39,000 votes, or 54%, and Perez has 33,252 votes, or 46%. But an unknown number of provisional and absentee ballots have yet to be tallied and could take days to count.
If Vidak’s lead holds, it would be a gain for the Republican Party of a seat once held by Democrat Michael Rubio (D-Shafter), but would not break the Democrats’ two-thirds majority in that house. Rubio resigned abruptly earlier this year and took a job as a government affairs manager with Chevron Corp.
In another special election Tuesday, Ontario Mayor Paul Leon was the top vote-getter in an eight-candidate field to fill the Assembly District 52 seat. Leon, a former Republican, will face Democratic Pomona Councilman Freddie Rodriguez in a September runoff with Democrats looking to regain their supermajority in the Assembly.
Although Rodriguez finished second on Tuesday, he will be the front-runner for the fall. Rodriguez and five other Democrats split more than 60% of the vote in this solidly Democratic San Bernardino County district.
The seat came open when Norma Torres (D-Pomona) was elected to the state Senate earlier this year.
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