With all four counties in the 16th Senate District completing their preliminary recounts, Porterville Republican David Shepard has conceded the race to Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D–Bakersfield).
Shepard’s announcement Wednesday comes one day after the recount was finalized, wrapping up the process that started last month after the results were certified after weeks of counting.
The backstory: The election results certified on Dec. 8 declared Hurtado the victor by a mere 20 votes, resulting in Shepard’s recount request to Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare Counties shortly after on Dec. 13. Hurtado’s margin of victory rose to 22 shortly after certification when Kern County found four more ballots.
- Along with Shepard’s recount request, Hurtado made a request of her own on Dec. 28, asking for a recount of additional precincts in Kern County. On Jan. 5, Shepard submitted an additional recount request by hand for selected precincts.
State of play: On Tuesday, Kern County completed Hurtado’s request, wrapping up the month-long process. The results: Shepard picked up nine votes, leaving Hurtado – who has already been sworn in – in Sacramento with a 13-vote margin of victory.
What they’re saying: After the recount ended Tuesday, Hurtado’s team released a statement calling on Shepard to concede.
- “It’s time for David Shepard to admit the race is over,” said Hurtado’s campaign consultant Lisa Gasperoni. “Shepard’s ongoing attempts to undermine the will of the voters and change the outcome of the election to his personal benefit are becoming more and more desperate.”
- In his announcement conceding the race on Wednesday, Shepard said he believes his path to victory is no longer feasible, and he said there were a significant number of voters who were not allowed to have their vote counted due to the independent interpretation of the California Elections Code by each county.
- “During the recount we uncovered blatant mismanagement and inconsistencies of vote counting procedures in multiple counties, which excluded numerous voters from having their votes counted in this election. Violation of the basic constitutional rights upon which our democracy is founded can change election results. We believe that had these voters been allowed to have their ballots counted, the outcome of this election would have been very different,” Shepard said in a concession.