SACRAMENTO — Democrats took another seat in the state Assembly this week, but a conservative Republican won a Central Valley state Senate district in an upset victory.
The San Diego-area Assembly seat was a sure bet for Democrats — both candidates were from the majority party.
Community organizer Lorena Gonzalez won a special election in that race with 72.3% of the vote, defeating small-business owner Steve Castaneda in the 80th Assembly District.
To the north, in another special election, Republican farmer Andy Vidak of Hanford won a Senate seat, besting three Democrats and a candidate from the Peace and Freedom Party with about 52% of the vote.
Jim Brulte, the new chairman of the California Republican Party, poured $206,000 in party funds into an independent campaign of television commercials supporting Vidak, who is known in the area because of a recent unsuccessful run for Congress.