Local Politics

Thursday, Aug 01 2013 10:23 AM

Political notebook: Fresno County finishes 16th District vote count

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    By Tomas Ovalle / Special to The Californian

    In this file photo, Andy Vidak holds an election gathering at his cherry farm in Hanford where he and supporters check results in the 16th Senate District special election against Democrat Leticia Perez.

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BY JOHN ELLIS Fresno Bee

Fresno County finished its vote count Wednesday in the 16th District special election battle between Hanford Republican Andy Vidak and Bakersfield Democrat, though the outcome was known long ago.

Now, it can truly be called official.

The results show Vidak with 51.9 percent of the vote and Perez with 48.1 percent. That's 42,224 votes for Vidak and 39,140 for Perez, according to the Secretary of State's office.

Fresno was final of the four counties that make up the 16th District to finish its count. Earlier, Kings, Kern and Tulare had finished counting their ballots.

When Fresno County last updated its count on Friday, there still were around 870 votes left to count -- about 750 provisional ballots and 120 challenged ballots.

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.

But Perez conceded the day after the election when initial vote tallies gave Vidak a significant lead and the relatively small number of ballots still to be counted virtually ensured his victory.

Vidak, currently a "senator-elect," will be sworn in to office on August 10 at 10 a.m. at downtown Hanford's Courthouse Park.

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