Vidak wins the 16th Senate District race

FRESNO, California

In a written statement Perez said:

"This campaign is over. Andy has earned the right to represent us in Sacramento and I look forward to him delivering on his promises."

Perez remains in her first term as a Kern County Supervisor.

Vidak a Cherry farmer from Hanford issued a statement Wednesday evening:

"It was a spirited campaign and I look forward to working with Supervisor Perez along with every other elected official in the district. We all have to set aside our differences and work together to make this Valley a better and safer place to live."

Political Science Professor Thomas Holyoke of Fresno State believes Vidak's win in a heavily Democratic Party district gives the states Republicans a chance at regaining some influence in the state legislature.

"This is a big psychological boost for the Republican Party," said Holyoke. "It doesn't crack the 2/3rds Democratic majority in the state senate though it reduces it to a razor thin margin."

As of Wednesday more than 9,000 votes by mail and provisional ballots remained to be counted. 5,700 of those in Fresno County.

While Vidak won big in the Republican strongholds of Kings and Tulare Counties he also attracted a lot of Democratic votes in Fresno and Kern Counties.

Fresno County Clerk Brandi Orth says the massive multi-million dollar campaign boosted voter turnout.

Orth explained, "In May as you know Fresno County had a 19 percent turnout, but already as of last night we had 22 percent and of course these 57 hundred ballots will boost that number up a little bit."

Voter turnout in Vidak's home of Kings County was nearly 40 percent, extremely high in a special election.

Vidak won't have long to savor his victory. The district boundaries are changing and he will have to run again in 2014. While Democrats are hoping to unseat him, Holyoke believes Vidak will be a formidable opponent.

"He will have all of the name recognition," said Holyoke. "He will have all of the resources of office behind him, he'll be a lot harder to knock off next year than he would have been this year."

Democratic Party strategists have indicated a Democrat would have a better chance of beating Vidak in the November 2014 election because the redrawn district will retain a Democratic Party majority. But as Holyoke noted, Vidak has shown his popularity crosses party lines, making him a unique figure in California politics.

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