GOP Cherry Farmer takes Senate
seat away from the Democrats
(Update - It appears the announcement that Republican farmer Andy Vidak won outright former Senator Michael Rubio's seat may have been premature: an updated vote count puts Vidak below the 50-percent-plus-one threshold he needed to surpass to avoid a runoff against his Democratic opponent, Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez.
An updated total posted on the Secretary of State's website at 3:21 this afternoon gave Vidak 49.8 percent of the vote and Perez 43.8 percent.
Observation. I find it interesting that the "extra votes" that are found after election day always vote Democrat. Just an observation.)
A Republican has won a hotly contested state Senate contest in the southern San Joaquin Valley, with his top Democratic rival conceding Wednesday that the race will not go to a runoff.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Vidak -- a Republican from Hanford -- won 51.9 percent of the vote in Tuesday's special election for the vacant seat.
Democratic challenger Leticia Perez -- Kern County's 5th district supervisor -- won 41.7 percent of the vote. She conceded early Wednesday morning and congratulated Vidak on the victory.
Fellow Democrat Francisco Ramirez had 3 percent of the vote. Democrat Paulina Miranda had 2.6 percent, and Peace and Freedom candidate Mohammed Arif has 0.6 percent reports KERO 23 ABC News.
The special election victory by Hanford cherry farmer Andy Vidak will have no practical effect on the state Senate, where Democrats retain a supermajority, but serves as a psychological boost for the party after massive GOP losses in recent election cycles.
reports the San Jose Mercury News.
. "It's a big shot in the arm," he said. "The district just sent a pretty conservative salvo across the bow of the Democratic majority." Vidak's campaign did not immediately return multiple telephone calls seeking comment. Democrats won two-thirds majorities in both legislative chambers in November. That was the first time since 1933, when Republicans did it, that one party has held simultaneous supermajorities in the Assembly and Senate.
Vidak, who narrowly lost a congressional bid in 2010, had 52 percent of the vote, enough for an outright victory.
Democrats have a large registration edge in the 16th Senate District—50 percent to Republicans' 31 percent—but three Democratic candidates and a Peace and Freedom Party candidate split the left-leaning vote. That cleared the way for Vidak to win a simple majority.