Hurtado Has 12-Vote Lead Over Shepard for 16th Senate Seat - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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Hurtado Has 12-Vote Lead Over Shepard for 16th Senate Seat



State Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Bakersfield, now leads David Shepard by 45 votes out of more than 136,000 cast. (GV Wire File)
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State Sen. Melissa Hurtado has clawed back a deficit of nearly 3,400 votes and now leads her Republican opponent by 12 votes in the 16th District race.

The latest count from the Secretary of State shows Hurtado, a Bakersfield Democrat, with 68,302 votes to 68,290 for David Shepard of Porterville.

Hurtado’s lead actually got smaller on Monday — down from a 45-vote edge on Friday. Shepard narrowed the gap by winning 71 of 109 votes added to Fresno County’s total on Monday.

There are 100 ballots left to count in Kern County, where Hurtado has captured 58.1% of the vote to Shepard’s 41.9%.

Counties have until Friday, Dec. 9,  to report final official results to the Secretary of State.

There is no automatic recount in California, but those asking for a recall must pay for it.

Hurtado Switched Districts

Hurtado says redistricting may have added to the competitiveness of the race. That’s because most of Fresno County — where she lived — was removed from the district she represented. Only the area around conservative Kingsburg remains. Hurtado currently represents SD 14, which includes much of the city of Fresno, and much of the southeastern portion of the county, both Democratic strongholds.

“I think that’s the reason for the numbers being closer. I think turnout also has a lot to do with that. And I think that to a certain extent, perhaps the current state of the economy,” Hurtado said.

She initially was drawn into the same district as fellow incumbent Democrat Anna Caballero of Merced. Hurtado moved to Bakersfield to run.

In 2018, Hurtado totaled 80,942 votes in unseating District 14 Republican incumbent Andy Vidak of Hanford. Hurtado finished with 55.8% of the vote compared to 44.2% for Vidak.


Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email