A 50-vote lead in a countywide race the day after an election usually doesn't spell victory -- but that apparently is the case in Kings County.
Attorney Jennifer Giuliani's 50-vote lead over Superior Court Judge George Orndoff appeared Wednesday as if it's sold enough because few ballots remain to be counted.
"Statistically, the odds are in my favor, but until all the votes are counted, I can't claim victory," Giuliani said. "I'm optimistic, certainly."
About 250 ballots remain to be processed, the Kings County election department said Wednesday.
Orndoff, 71, has been on the bench for 17 years. He said he'd wait until all votes were counted before conceding.
Giuliani, 48, said she took the unusual step of running against a sitting judge because the position has been a lifetime goal and opportunities are few.
The final election night tally was Giuliani 7,144 votes (50.2%), Orndoff 7,094 votes (49.8%).
Supervisor Richard Valle will face off in November against challenger Ron Hoggard in District 2, covering Corcoran, Kettleman City and Avenal.
Of 1,931 votes cast Tuesday, Valle polled 43.8% to Hoggard's 21.6%.
By coming in first in a field of five, Valle passed his first test of voter support after being charged with sexual assault in 2010. Charges were dropped last month.
Hoggard, a former Corcoran city manager, said he hopes to win by getting votes that went to other candidates, and siphoning votes from Valle. Hoggard said his campaign will be about economic growth, jobs and water supply.
Valle, who's finishing his first term, said he'll seek support from those who voted for other candidates by emphasizing his strong opposition to high-speed rail and advocacy for water, and by highlighting his work ethic.
Two ballot measures and a council election could be too close to call, although changes seem unlikely. About 9,500 mail-in ballots must be counted and 900 provisional ballots processed, the elections division said.
In Porterville, former council member Virginia Gurrola won a seat on the Porterville City Council, getting 16.1% of the vote in a field of 11 candidates.
Incumbent Brian Ward was re-elected with 14.8%, while incumbent Cam Hamilton appeared to win re-election with 12%.
But fourth-place Felipe Martinez, an insurance agent and former council member, noted that he's only 48 votes behind Hamilton and hasn't give up. But Hamilton said he expects that mail-in ballots will break in his favor.
In Tulare, voters approved Measure A to elect city council members by district, with 52.1% yes to 47.9% no.
The margin of approval was 143 votes and although more votes will be counted, "I think it's safe to say that it has passed," Council Member Craig Vejvoda said.
But voters in the Tulare Health Care District rejected Measure D to require zone elections for hospital trustees, by 51.2% no to 48.8% yes. That's 102 votes short of passage.
Both measures went before voters to settle lawsuits by voting rights activists.
Alberto Aguilar of Tulare, who favors zone elections, said the hospital board will still face pressure to move to election by zone.
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