Andy Vidak wins 16th State Senate District

May 22, 2013 12:51:19 AM PDT
Republican Andy Vidak is the winner in Tuesday's special state senate election. The farmer from Hanford won nearly 52 percent of the vote. His closest challenger, democrat Leticia Perez finished with 42 percent of the vote.

Vidak's victory will help boost the Republican Party's sagging power in the state legislature. It cuts the Democrats super majority in the senate meaning their hold on near absolute power is hanging by a thread.

After a late night victory party Tuesday Andy Vidak was busy taking phone calls, questions from reporters and praise from supporters, congratulating him on his victory in the race for the state senate's 16th district seat.

"I'm tired. I'm tired. But we feel pretty good. We are very grateful for the vote we got." Vidak told Action News.

Vidak needed just 50 percent of the votes, plus one to win an outright victory. He received nearly 52 percent from the district. His opponent, Democrat Leticia Perez bested him in Fresno County. But Vidak's strong showing in Tulare County and his overwhelming margin in Kings County, were enough to offset the Fresno County numbers, and the advantage Perez had in Kern County. The numbers are expected to hold, even though thousands of ballots remain uncounted in a very low turnout election.

Fresno County Clerk Brandi Orth said, "The turnout was about 16 percent what we have now is about four thousand provisional vote by mail ballots that were dropped off at the polls yesterday so we will be going through and procession those ballots over the next few days."

About two thousand ballots remain to be counted in Kern County, and a few hundred in Kings and Tulare Counties.

Vidaks's victory is seen as a boost to the state's Republican Party. Before Tuesday's election Fresno State Professor Tom Holyoke told us. "If the Republicans can win it shows they are still a vibrant, relevant force in California politics."

And most important it boosts their diminished clout in the legislature.

"It gets them a little closer to cracking the democrat's 2/3rds." Holyoke said.

Vidak's win leaves Democrats with just one vote to keep their supermajority, which allows them to pass budget bills without Republican support. Another democrat is expected to leave the state senate soon, ending democrat's super grip on power.

Vidak doesn't see himself as a party savior, but hopes to bring common sense to Sacramento.

"I don't ride a white horse and I'm not a magic bullet but I'm excited to go up there and make a difference and hope it inspires some other folks to come out and think they can do the same thing," said Vidak. "Because our message is right and we've just got to communicate it better."


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