This article originally appeared on watchdog.org.
As of 6:00 a.m., Republican Andy Vidak was leading Democratic challenger Leticia Perez, by more than 6,000 votes for the empty seat in the Senate District 16 runoff race.
Congratulations were already coming in to Vidak on his Facebook page.
Vidak, a 47-year old, third-generation Republican farmer from Hanford, seemed to win 51.9 percent of the vote in the special election in May over Bakersfield Democrat Leticia Perez for the Senate seat vacated by former Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Bakersfield.
Vidak needed 50 percent-plus-one votes to avoid a runoff against Perez.
But a large number of provisional ballots magically appeared after Perez had already conceded the election causing Vidak to lose his 51 percent edge, and a runoff election was scheduled for July 23.
Central Valley Senate District 16 has been a crucial one for Democrats in the Capitol. They needed it to keep their solid two-thirds supermajority that allows them to raise fees and taxes without any Republican votes. Even with a Vidak win, Democrats would still control 27 seats in the Senate. But they are worried about the seat recently vacated by Sen. Curren Price who won his race for Los Angeles City Council. That special election will take place in September.
???With 100% of precincts reporting, the Hanford-area grower holds a nearly 6,000 vote lead over Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez in the contentious 16th State Senate race,??? 23 ABC News in Bakersfield just reported.
The California Secretary of State is reporting Vidak has 54 percent of the vote, with a total of 39,085 votes. Perez has 46 percent of the vote, with a total of 33,252 votes.
Kern County and Fresno County were where the majority of the provisional ballots appeared in the special election. In yesterday???s election, Kern County reported 48.1 percent for Vidak, and 58.9 percent for Perez. Fresno reported 45.9 percent for Vidak to 54.1 percent for Perez. However, Vidak Kings and Tulare Counties with large margins.
If it???s not close, they can???t cheat
This reminds me of talk show host Hugh Hewitt???s 2004 book, ???If it???s not close, they can???t cheat,??? about winning elections in an era when only a handful of votes can turn an election. According to Hewitt, if the results are not even close, there won???t be any question of the winner.
CalWatchdog will update this story and the election results throughout the day.
– See more at: http://calwatchdog.com/results-are-in-vidak-wins-in-senate-race/#sthash.owNeznHm.dpuf