Today is the run-off special election for California's 16th Senate district.
Democratic State Senator Michael Rubio retired earlier this year to work for Chevron and left this Central Valley seat open. On the surface it should be an easy seat for Democrats to hold. They have a 20% registration advantage in the district. That's similar to the advantage Democrats have in Congresswoman Anna Eschoo's district and Republicans don't bother there.
The Central Valley is different. It's loaded with low turn-out migrant workers registered as Democrats. Some vote Republican down ballot, but most don't show up. Especially for a special election.
Hence, that's why Andy Vidak took 49.8% of the vote in the primary, almost winning the seat outright.
Today is the general election for the seat. Well, that's not exactly true. Seventy-six percent of the ballots in the primary were mail-in. If this election follows a similar pattern, then it's pretty much already decided. The Fresno Bee has the total VBM as of yesterday.
VBM compared to the primary is down in Fresno County, but up in Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties. Overall, this appears to mean the election could end up similar to the primary. If we take Vidak's overall percentage of the votes and apply it to the VBM in the primary we get 50.8% of the vote. Vidak got 1% less than that because the counties he did worst in, Kern and Fresno, had lower VBM than the two counties he did better in, Kings and Tulare.
If we assume Vidak gets the same percentage of the vote in each county in the general election, we get that he'll have 50.7% of the vote.
That's so close that Vidak projects to again get roughly 50% of the vote again today. This was a low turn-out election in May and is again. It may be decided based on who shows up at the polls today.
Edit: I should also add is that this assumes that Vidak only gets Vidak voters and Perez gets all other voters. If some of the voters who voted for other candidates vote Vidak, he wins.