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Hurtado Ekes Out State Senate Victory by 0.007 Percent



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.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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