SACRAMENTO (AP) — 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.
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.
Democratic Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez, of Bakersfield, and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, both ceded the 16th Senate District race to Vidak. Adding another Republican senator increases the hurdle for Democrats to reach the two-thirds majority needed to pass tax hikes and puts the GOP in a stronger position heading into next year’s elections, said Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar.
“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.”