Turlock greeted Jeff Denham with loud cheering at what turned out to be his nomination celebration. the State Senator says voters were familiar with him because of the eight-years he spent in the State Senate. He says that gave him the edge, but he admits the campaign was never easy.
Denham outspent former Fresno Mayor Jim Patterson six to one, but Patterson stayed close with more of a grassroots campaign. In fact, he beat Denham by almost 7,000 votes in Fresno and Madera County. In Mariposa, Tuolumne and Stanislaus counties -- Denham won by more than 9,000 votes.
For Patterson, the loss could put his political career on hold, if not end it.
"There is something else for me after this that will be meaningful and that will allow me to spend time with my kids and grandkids here in my hometown, that's not really losing anything," said Patterson.
Denham will face off with the democratic winner in November. Loraine Goodwin beat out Les Marsden for that nomination, but she'll have a tough road ahead. No democrat has won the seat in California's 19th since 1995.
There are still thousands of absentee ballots to be counted, but they're not likely to change the results. Congressman George Radanovich was among those who called to congratulate Senator Denham Tuesday night.