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Hurtado Ekes Out State Senate Victory by 0.007 Percent

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Melissa Hurtado, left, clings to a 24-vote advantage over David Shepard in their state Senate race. (GV Wire Composite/David Rodriguez)
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State Sen. Melissa Hurtado will return to Sacramento for a second term representing the Central Valley.

Final numbers released by Fresno County on Thursday netted David Shepard, R-Porterville, four votes, but not enough to erase Hurtado’s lead.

David Taub

Politics 101

Hurtado, D-Bakersfield, won the election by 20 votes in one of the closest legislature races in state history. By percentage, Hurtado won 50.007% to Shepard’s 49.993%. That is seven-thousandths of a percent.

She declared victory.

“I pledge to continue working for our Valley, delivering funding for clean and reliable water supplies, keeping our schools and neighborhoods safe, combatting fentanyl in our communities and fighting for expanded access to healthcare, quality education and good jobs for working families,” Hurtado said in a text to Politics 101.

Kern County released an update Wednesday, which proved to be its final numbers. At the time, it bumped Hurtado’s lead from 12 to 24 votes.

The race was so close, no one was seated when the state Senate convened for a new session Monday.

Thursday was the last day for counties to certify its election. The Secretary of State has until Dec. 16 to certify all numbers.

This is a much closer election for Hurtado, D-Bakersfield, than when she won her first term in 2018. Her victory then was in a different district, SD 14, that encompassed much more of Fresno County. She defeated incumbent Andy Vidak, 56%-44% in that race.

Shepard, R-Porterville, outperformed in a district mostly spanning Kings, Tulare and Kern counties, despite a 41% to 28% Democratic registration.


Also in Politics 101 …

  • Annalisa Perea set to take City Council job early.
  • Soria introduces first Assembly bill.
  • Salas wants a congressional rematch.

Special Fresno City Council Session to Appoint Perea

Annalisa Perea

As expected, the Fresno City Council will hold a special meeting Friday to appoint Annalisa Perea to fulfill the remainder of Esmeralda Soria’s District 1 council term. The City Charter grants the council the right to make an appointment when there is a year or less remaining in a term.

Perea is already set to be sworn in for a full, four-year term on Jan. 3, after winning the election for the seat last June.

Soria vacated her D1 seat on Monday, when she was sworn-in as a state Assemblywoman.

If Perea is approved, she would take her City Council seat on Dec. 14, one day after her term as a State Center Community College District trustee expires.

There is one more scheduled City Council meeting on Dec. 15.

There is precedent for the council action. In 2010, Clint Olivier took his seat early, replacing Henry T. Perea — who left early for the Assembly.

Soria Introduces Housing Bill

Esmeralda Soria

Soria introduced her first Assembly bill regarding housing, although it is vague.

Assembly Bill 49, in one paragraph, says “it is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would increase the supply of affordable housing and reduce homelessness.”

Soria wasn’t alone in the rush to introduce a bill on the first day of the new legislative session. In total, 149 bills were introduced Monday, several as vague as Soria’s.

Salas to Run Again

Fresh off a three-point loss, Rudy Salas filed to run for Congress again, in 2024. The Bakersfield Democrat apparently wants to give it one more shot against Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford.

In an expensive campaign, Valadao prevailed 51.5%-48.5%. Valadao continued to defy the voter registration odds. Democrats had a 17-point advantage over Republicans in the district, 43%-26%.

Valadao raised $3.5 million; Salas raised $2.6 million. Open Secrets estimated outside spending at $26 million.

David Taub has spent most of his career in journalism behind the scenes working as a TV assignment editor and radio producer. For more than a decade, he has worked in the Fresno market with such stops at KSEE-24, KMJ and Power Talk 96.7. Taub also worked the production and support side of some of TV sports biggest events including the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and NASCAR to name a few. Taub graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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