Fullerton Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva remains on track to notch one of the biggest upsets in recent Orange County political history as absentee ballots continue to be counted in her race against incumbent Chris Norby in the 65th Assembly District.

As of Friday, Quirk-Silva, a Democrat, led the Republican Norby by 1,701 votes with 17,659 ballots still to be counted, according to the Orange County Registrar of Voters office. Her lead, which was just over 1,000 votes as of Election Day, has increased slightly.

Statewide Democrats are counting on Quirk-Silva to hold on to her winning margin to help them achieve their first Assembly supermajority in 120 years.

Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley said Orange County likely will be the first in the state to certify its final returns, but that probably will take about two more weeks. Counties are given 28 days after an election to count all ballots.

The long count can be attributed to a growing trend among voters to turn in absentee ballots on Election Day.

The 65th District seat was widely considered safely in Republican hands, but Quirk-Silva and Assembly Democratic political strategists caught Norby and the GOP off guard with an unexpectedly strong campaign. Norby, a former Fullerton city councilman and former county supervisor, was elected to the Assembly in 2009.


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