9,000 uncounted ballots remain in 16th Senate District race between Vidak, Perez

5,700 absentee and provisional ballots remain

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Republican Andy Vidak is leading in the hotly contested race for a San Joaquin Valley state Senate seat, with more than 9,200 ballots left to be counted.

Preliminary returns in the 16th Senate District show Vidak with 54 percent of the vote to Democrat Leticia Perez's 46 percent. The candidates are separated by about 5,800 votes.

About 5,700 of the outstanding absentee and provisional ballots are in Fresno County, where returns slightly favored Perez. She also led in Kern County, where 2,345 votes remain.

Vidak held wide margins in Kings and Tulare counties, where 1,185 ballots are left.

County election officials said Wednesday that they expect updated tallies by Friday.

Democrats hoped to hold the seat to protect their supermajority status in the Senate, prompting a flood of campaign contributions.

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