Hurtado to hang on to Senate seat with squeaker lead over Shepard

State. Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D–Sanger) saw her already razor-thin lead shaved down by a final vote update in Fresno County. 

State. Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D–Sanger) appears to have squeaked out a razor-thin victory over Republican newcomer David Shepard (R–Porterville) in the hotly-contested 16th Senate District battle.  

Wednesday, Kern County processed 282 ballots in the district out of 500 total in the county. 


Kern County previously estimated that it only had 100 ballots left to count countywide. 

Fresno County finalized its vote totals and certified its results on Thursday evening, following a flurry of cured ballots.

The end result? A shaving four votes off of Hurtado’s vote total, leaving her with a tiny 20-vote lead.

She has accumulated 68,457 votes, compared to 68,437 for Shepard. 

Shepard had been leading, albeit by a small margin, for weeks after the election. Heading into updates from Fresno County and Kern County late last week, he had been up by 245 votes. 

But Hurtado took the lead last Friday and has continued to gain slight ground. 

California counties are up against a Thursday deadline to certify their election results. 

All counties in the district – Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare Counties – have all reported to the state that they do not estimate to have any uncounted ballots remaining. 

Thursday was the state’s certification deadline for county election officials to count cured ballots and certify vote totals.

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