Democratic challenger Melissa Hurtado held on to win a tight, back and forth race with Republican incumbent Andy Vidak for a state Senate seat on a night when the GOP otherwise won by comfortable margins in local races for state and congressional seats.
In the 14th California Senate District race, Hurtado, a member of the Sanger City Council, captured 52.1 percent of the vote to pull off what most pundits would consider an upset. Vidak finished with 47.9 percent.
Vidak first won the office in a 2013 special election following Democrat Michael J. Rubio's mid-term resignation in February of that year. The district covers portions of Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties, including the cities of Arvin, Delano, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco and a substantial portion of Bakersfield.
VALADAO DEFEATS COX
Incumbent David Valadao, R-Hanford, beat Democratic challenger TJ Cox in the race for the 21st Congressional District seat.
The three-term congressman and dairyman had 53.7 percent of the vote, while Cox, an engineer and small businessman from Fresno, had 46.3 percent.
In the June primary, Valadao beat Cox by a nearly 28-point margin in a district where Democrats enjoy a 16-point registration advantage.
Valadao has represented the district since 2013 and serves on the House Appropriations Committee. The district incorporates parts of Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties.
Vince Fong, Republican incumbent in the 34th District Assembly race, defeated Democratic challenger Nick Nicita, an audio engineer and bowling alley worker.
Fong received 73 percent of the vote to Nicita's 27 percent.
Fong was first elected to the seat in 2016 after spending his political working for U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy and former Congressman Bill Thomas, both Bakersfield Republicans.
Located entirely within Kern County, the district extends from the Taft area to the Mojave Desert.
GROVE DEFEATS MUSSER-LOPEZ
Former Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, won handily over Democratic challenger Ruth Musser-Lopez in the race for the state's 16th Senate District.
Grove, A U.S. Army veteran and co-owner of a local employment agency, ended up with 66.9 percent of the vote. Musser-Lopez, a Needles resident and owner of an archaeological consulting firm, received 33.1 percent.
Grove termed out of the Assembly in 2016 after being re-elected twice. The 16th Senate District seat — the state's largest by geographical size — is being vacated by termed-out Republican Jean Fuller of Bakersfield. It covers the southeastern San Joaquin Valley and a huge swath of the Mojave Desert and includes the cities of Ridgecrest, Taft, Tehachapi, Barstow, Tulare, Visalia and a substantial portion of Bakersfield.