Andy Vidak wins 16th State Senate district special election

Democratic rival Leticia Perez concedes defeat

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Andy Vidak will represent the 16th State Senate district in Sacramento with a hard-fought victory over a Kern County supervisor and three other candidates.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Vidak -- a Republican from Hanford -- won 51.9 percent of the vote in Tuesday's special election for the vacant seat.

Democratic challenger Leticia Perez -- Kern County's 5th district supervisor -- won 41.7 percent of the vote. She conceded early Wednesday morning and congratulated Vidak on the victory.

In a statement, she also thanked volunteers for their hard work.

“I am humbled and honored that so many people encouraged and supported me during the campaign with their time, energy and dedication,” Perez said. “I will continue to work on behalf of Central Valley residents and families, and share my message of hope with them.”

Fellow Democrat Francisco Ramirez had 3 percent of the vote. Democrat Paulina Miranda had 2.6 percent, and Peace and Freedom candidate Mohammed Arif has 0.6 percent.

Rural, agricultural areas played a large role in Vidak's win. Perez edged Vidak in Kern County and Fresno County, but Vidak won by wide margins in Kings County -- his home -- and Tulare County.

Republicans gained control over what had been a Democratic state Senate seat, after former Kern County Supervisor Michael Rubio resigned in February.

If no candidate had won more than 50 percent of the vote, a special runoff election would have been held in July.

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