SACRAMENTO — The last undecided California race from the Nov. 5 election was resolved Wednesday, with Republican state Senate candidate Richard Rainey edging his Democratic opponent by 659 votes.
The race was the last of an unusually large number of contests that were too close to call on the basis of results available in the first hours after the polls closed.
The high number of absentee voters in California, along with questions created by the "motor voter" law, meant that determining a victor in more than a dozen contests--including the Los Angeles district attorney's race, several congressional races and numerous legislative races--had to wait for the laborious process of hand-checking provisional and absentee ballots.
Rainey--now a state assemblyman--defeated Democrat Jeff Smith for the 7th Senate District seat by a vote of 161,291 to 160,632.
The district includes portions of Alameda and Contra Costa counties east of San Francisco. Smith led the balloting in Contra Costa County, while Rainey was ahead in Alameda County.
The results mean that the incoming Senate will have 23 Democrats, 16 Republicans and one independent.
The incoming Assembly will have 43 Democrats and 37 Republicans.