In special elections Tuesday for two state Senate seats, Republican Sharon Runner loped toward a decisive victory in the High Desert and Democrat Ted Lieu was handily outpacing seven other candidates in the South Bay, partial election returns showed.
Lieu's closest competitor was Manhattan Beach attorney Robert Valentine, but he and the other candidates appeared to be falling short of keeping the former assemblyman from winning the majority needed to avoid a runoff.
Leading by a more than 2-1 margin, Runner declared victory with less than one-fifth of the ballots counted and promised to work to cut spending and jobs-killing regulations.
"The people … have spoken loud and clear," Runner said.
From the start, Runner, 56, a former member of the state Assembly from Lancaster, was heavily favored to defeat her only opponent, Democrat Darren W. Parker, 51, also of Lancaster. The 17th Senate District consistently votes Republican, and Runner is half of a popular political couple — the seat opened after her husband, George, was elected to the Board of Equalization.