Fresno Democrat Esmeralda Soria took an early lead Tuesday night in the election to fill the open 27th State Assembly District seat, and she appears to be heading toward a run off in November with Merced County’s own Mark Pazin.
Soria, a Fresno City Council member, is in the lead of the four-candidate race as of Wednesday morning with 42 percent of the vote (10,473 votes), compared to Pazin’s 32.2 percent (8,281).
The top two vote-getters in the primary election, regardless of party, advance to the November general election.
“Tonight is just the beginning,” Soria told supporters during an election night party at a taco stop venue in Merced. “This is the first hurdle but I feel confident with the love and support that is here. The support that we have been able to build in Merced, Madera, and Fresno. We’re going to take this in November.”
Pazin — the former Merced County sheriff and a native of Merced — was also feeling confident and pleased with the results.
“This has been a great campaign with a great effort from all my supporters throughout AD27 — and now we immediately focus on November,” Pazin told the Times. “Crime, taxes, unnecessary regulations, inflation, water storage and surging gas prices have everyone back on their heels. Going into the general election, I will ensure the voters understand my positions.”
The Republican candidate started out election night at the Friends of the Fair celebration on the eve of the Merced County Fair, and then traveled to Fresno to take part in a law enforcement event.
The other candidates in the Assembly race were far behind in the vote tally, including Amanda Fleming (Republican) at 3,773 votes (15.1 percent) and Mike Karbassi (Democrat) with 2,386 votes (9.6 percent).
Caballero vs. Shor
Senator Anna Caballero, who is already representing this region as a seasoned state senator with many years of elected leadership roles under her belt, is well ahead of the competition in the redistricted State Senate District 14.
With 54.8 percent of the vote, Caballero, a Democrat, will be facing Amnon Shor, a Republican from Fresno who garnered 38.1 percent of the vote. Paulina Miranda, another Democrat in the race, only earned 7.1 percent of the vote.
‘Rumble in the Valley’
Adam Gray leads a five-candidate field in his first attempt to step up and become a leader in the U.S. Congress.
Gray — a current State Assembly member and Democrat from Merced — garnered 33.2 percent of the votes (11,029) in the primary election as of Wednesday morning. Next — and not that far behind — was Republican farmer John Duarte from the Modesto-Ceres-Hughson area at 30.8 percent (10,232).
“This is incredible,” Gray remarked as he viewed election results on Tuesday night surrounded by supporters during a big party inside the Tarmac at Castle.
He later issued a statement: “I am proud of the diverse and bipartisan coalition we have built around this campaign. I don’t think many voters realize just how rare it is to see Democrats and Republicans support the same candidate. When you are from a community and people know who you are, your party doesn’t matter as much as your character. I live here. I went to school here. I grew up playing little league here. No one else on the ballot today could say the same, and that made the difference.”
So it looks like Gray is going to face off with Duarte — a candidate who has already described his fight with Gray as the “Rumble in the Valley.”
The other candidates include Democrat Phil Arballo with 19.1 percent of the vote, Republican David Giglio with 14.1 percent and Diego Martinez with 2.9 percent.