SACRAMENTO (AP) — The final ballots were counted Friday in a special election for a San Joaquin Valley state Senate seat, affirming Republican cherry farmer Andy Vidak’s defeat of Democrat Leticia Perez in a seat long held by Democrats.
Vidak’s victory in the 16th Senate district shrinks the Democrats’ supermajority in the state Senate and provides a lift for California’s struggling Republican Party. Democrats had hoped to retain the seat as they face a likely fight next year to maintain their supermajority status in the Senate.
Vidak beat Perez by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent, according to the secretary of state’s office. Perez, a Kern County supervisor, conceded the race a day after Tuesday’s election.
Democrats hold a 51 percent to 31 percent registration advantage in the San Joaquin district, but the GOP capitalized on opportunity in the race that drew outsize attention and spending. Each of the candidates raised around $2 million and outside groups also spent heavily...