In one of the state’s most closely watched legislative races, Democrat Assemblywoman Anna Caballero held a slight lead over Republican Rob Poythress for the 12th Senate District seat.
Other key developments in central San Joaquin Valley legislative races included incumbent Sen. Andy Vidak falling behind challenger Melissa Hurtado and Fresno County Supervisor Andreas Borgeas winning a Senate seat.
Senate District 12
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Caballero had 50.5 percent of the vote to Poythress’ 49.5 percent. The lead flip-flopped several times during the evening as votes were counted. There are thousands of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots to be counted in each district.
“I want to thank the hundreds of volunteers who knocked on thousands of doors across the 12th Senate District to deliver our message. As a result of their effort, and the enthusiastic response of thousands of voters through the District, we finished election night with a slight lead,” Caballero said Wednesday. “But Tuesday night’s results also made it clear there are still a significant number of votes to count in the 12th Senate District.”
Caballero said her campaign staff will monitor the vote-counting in each of the six county election offices in the district: Fresno, Madera, Merced, Monterey, San Benito and Stanislaus counties.
The 12th Senate District race attracted plenty of attention, especially from California’s Republican Party leaders who were worried a win by Caballero could give Democrats a supermajority in both houses of the Legislature. With a supermajority, Democrats would have the power to override vetoes without Republican votes.
But Caballero, who represents the Pajaro and Salinas valleys, dismissed the concern about a supermajority.
“I think they had to find something to excite their base,” she said. “To me what is more important that we have people who work for rural California. That is a more powerful ally for the district.”
Poythress said he was cautiously optimistic he would win the race.
Senate District 8
Republican candidate Andreas Borgeas, a Fresno County supervisor, defeated opponent Paulina Miranda, an educator. With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Borgeas had 61 percent of the vote to Miranda’s 39 percent. The seat was formerly held by Tom Berryhill, who termed out.
“The difference in this race was that we were advocating on behalf of the people in our in area,” Borgeas said. “We are advocating for water, economic development, and quality education. And these are not partisan issues.”
Senate District 14
Vidak, a Hanford farmer and Republican, trails his Democratic opponent, Melissa Hurtado, a Sanger City Council member. With 100 percent of the precincts reporting. Vidak had 48 percent of the vote while Hurtado had 52 percent of the vote.
District 5 incumbent Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals, beat his challenger, Democrat Carla Neal. With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Bigelow was at 60 percent compared to 40 percent for Neal, an educator and small business owner.
With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Jim Patterson, former Fresno mayor and incumbent for the 23rd District, beat Democratic challenger Aileen Rizo, an educator. Patterson got 63 percent of the vote.
In the 26th District, incumbent Republican Devon Mathis had 61 percent of the vote against Democrat Jose Sigala, a Tulare City Council member.
Also cruising to victory was Joaquin Arambula, the Democratic incumbent for the 31st District. Arambula, a physician, received 62 percent of the vote to beat challenger Lupe Espinoza, a pre-college program project director with the University of California.
In the race for the 32nd District, Democratic incumbent Rudy Salas holds a slim lead over Republican challenger Justin Mendes, a Hanford City Council member. With 100 percent of the votes counted, Salas had 52.5 percent of the vote to 47.5 percent for Mendes.