By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Republican Pedro Rios has conceded in the race for the 32nd Assembly District seat, according to a story by the Associated Press and The Hanford Sentinel.
Rios, a former Delano city councilman, lost to Democrat and Bakersfield City Councilman Rudy Salas. On election night, Rios lagged by fewer than 100 votes at one point, but as elections workers processed more ballots in the following days, Salas' lead grew to just more than 2,500 votes as of Monday.
The 32nd District includes all of Kings County, where Rios had more support than Salas, and a northwest section of Kern County, where Salas had more support.
Kings County still had 1,500 provisional and 20 absentee ballots left to process as of Thursday. Not all of the provisional ballots may be valid. In Kern County, there are about 4,800 ballots left to process for this race, but with Salas winning 61 percent of the vote there, it's nearly impossible for Rios to close the gap and surpass Salas now.
"They began pounding me in August," Rios told The Hanford Sentinel, referring to a series of negative ads the Salas campaign ran against him. "It was relentless. It took its toll."
One of those ads mentioned that Rios sold alcohol to a minor as a convenience store clerk 18 years ago. A mailer from the California Democratic Party also portrayed Rios as anti-immigrant.
Salas' win helps cement a Democratic supermajority in the state Assembly, making it easier to raise taxes, though Salas opposed the Proposition 30 tax hikes that voters recently approved.