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Fong, Salas maintain leads in state Assembly races

Two Bakersfield incumbents — Republican Vince Fong and Democrat Rudy Salas — held onto leads Wednesday in their bids for reelection to state Assembly seats.

Unofficial results showed Fong and Salas comfortably ahead of their respective challengers, 34th Assembly District Democratic candidate Julie Solis and Todd Cotta, Republican contender for the 32nd Assembly District seat.

Preliminarily, Fong won 75 percent of the vote in the 34th and Solis, a Bakersfield health-care activist, had 25 percent. Meanwhile in the 32nd, Salas led with 54.6 percent to the 45.4 percent garnered by Cotta, a Hanford shooting-range owner.

The numbers are far from decisive, however, for two reasons. State election results won't be officially certified until all vote-by-mail, provisional and other ballots are counted; that could take until April 3.

Plus, California's "jungle primary" system means the top two vote-getters in each race will face off in the general election.

Fong said in a written statement Tuesday night that he would continue to try to make California more affordable and safe while fighting for local farmers, ranchers and energy producers.

Salas said by email he was humbled and grateful for the support voters demonstrated.

"I'm proud to represent the Valley and proud to stand up for our veterans, better schools, safer neighborhoods, more water and more jobs for our hardworking families," he wrote.

Cotta emailed a statement saying he and his campaign staff were excited about having achieved such results after only two months of campaigning.

"We have a game plan now set to make up the difference and win in November," he wrote. "My team is ready for the challenge."

Solis did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include statements Rudy Salas and Todd Cotta sent after the story was first posted online.

John Cox can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf.

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