SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The lone Republican and a Democrat favored by party leaders have taken early leads among five candidates in a hotly contested Central Valley state Senate race.
Republicans are trying to win what has been a Democratic state Senate seat in Tuesday's special election, a coup that would eat into the supermajority that Democrats won just six months ago.
Republicans believe they can elect Andy Vidak of Hanford, who narrowly lost a congressional race in 2010, although half the 16th Senate District's registered voters are Democrats.
He led the field with 53 percent of the vote in early returns, trailed by Democratic Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez of Bakersfield.
Meanwhile, Lorena Gonzalez had 71 percent of early votes in a contest between two Democrats in San Diego County's 80th Assembly District.
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