Republican farmer Andy Vidak leads by 5,833 votes over Democrat Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez in California's 16th Senate District special election. The lead is 54.0%-46.0%. Vidak had just under 52% of the vote after election night in the May primary and managed to lose 2% to finish with 49.8%. Since a candidate needs to get 50%+1 to avoid a run-off in a special election primary, Vidak fell just short.
Based on press reports, there are 2,345 remaining ballots in Kern County and 185 in Kings as well as 5,700 in Fresno county. I don't know how many remain in Tulare County, but it could be around 600. Perez would need to take 83% of the remaining ballots to win if this is the case and that's virtually impossible unless she's filling them out herself. My analysis of the voting shows that her best case is a 51.9%-48.1% loss.
Some might hold up this win as meaning that Republicans can appeal to Hispanics. While there are some Hispanics voting GOP in this district, they largely stay home and don't vote. And these Hispanics are rural farmworkers. Hispanic are much more likely to live in urban areas and have little in common with the Central Valley.
Winning this race makes Vidak the incumbent for the 2014 SD-14 race under the new lines. That district is 3.3% more Republican. So Vidak would expect to do 6.6% better with the same electorate. Of course, the electorate should be more favorable to the Democrats. But they'll need a good candidate to beat Vidak and they haven't recruited that well in the Central Valley.