Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Updated 16th District Senate vote counts solidify Vidak win

It’s now safe to call Andy Vidak “senator-elect.”

The Hanford Republican’s lead over Bakersfield Democrat Leticia Perez in the 16th District state Senate special election has dwindled considerably since Election Day.

But there aren’t enough ballots left to count for Perez to catch Vidak — even if she won every single vote.

Andy Vidak

When the count was finished late Tuesday, Vidak held a 5,833-vote edge. By Friday afternoon, when Fresno County updated its count, Vidak’s lead over Perez had dwindled to 3,516.

It means Perez picked up more than 2,300 votes in late counting.

But Fresno County only has around 870 votes left to count — about 750 provisional ballots and 120 challenged ballots. That’s not enough to pull Perez even close to snatching victory away from Vidak.

Friday’s count, according to the Secretary of State’s Office, had Vidak at 52.2% and Perez at 47.8%. Vidak’s lead: 4.4 percentage points.

The two candidates faced each other in a runoff after finishing one-two in the five-person May primary. The 16th District seat came open after Bakersfield Democrat Michael Rubio resigned to take a job with Chevron Corp.

It became a heated, high-profile showdown because Senate Democrats are fighting to retain a two-thirds majority in the chamber.

Leticia Perez

Millions of dollars poured into the race, which even caught the attention of major national publications such as the New York Times.

The race — or, more specifically, Perez — made an appearance on Comedy Central’s satirical news program, the Daily Show. In a segment featuring Perez, she adamantly rules out a congressional run.

In May, Vidak was initially above 50% of the vote and appeared on his way to staying above that threshold and winning the race outright. People began calling him “senator-elect.” Then, in late vote counts, he fell below 50%, forcing the runoff.


Stephen A. Montgomery says:

Vidak’s win saves the Californian from a “Dewey Wins” moment when they jumped the gun and called the election for Vidak in the primary before all the votes were counted. In this case, the Dems simply failed to get the votes out as one observer said, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Vidak has a short time to establish himself as more than someone born to privilege and advantages not available to most people. While I’m hopeful I’m concerned that one of his major financial supporters were Los Angeles basin water interests.

Cris says:

I fear Mr. Vidak. I do not believe he’s for any of the; middle class, poor or environmentally responsible. That said, I wasn’t comfortable with the”Super Majority” either, too much unchecked power is just a recipe for disaster no matter which philosophical side it represents. So to that end I’m okay with his win as it relates to California’s overall political health. But I do suggest, buyer beware, he may be just another FRACKER in overalls ready to sell our precious valley to the Petrochemical Industry….

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