Republicans Take Lead in Key Legislative Races

Republican candidates have taken clear leads in two key state legislative races that, come November, are expected to play a big role in whether the Democrats retain their supermajority in Sacramento.

With nearly all ballots reported as counted in the 34th Senate District, county Supervisor Janet Nguyen lead with 52 percent of the vote, compared to former Assemblyman Jose Solorio’s 34 percent.

County education board member Long Pham’s finished third with 15 percent.

In north Orange County’s 65th Assembly District, former congressional staffer Young Kim outpaced incumbent Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva by 55 to 45 percent.

Under California’s election rules, the top two winners in each of the state races will advance to the November general election for a runoff.

These two legislative races are considered key battlegrounds for whether Republicans will knock Democrats out of their two-thirds supermajority in the state Legislature.

At the same time, primary election turnout is typically higher among Republicans than Democrats.

Elsewhere, tight results were seen in South County’s 73rd Assembly District, with Democrat Wendy Gabriella besting Republican Bill Brough 28.6 to 27.6 percent.

Additionally, extremely close results were seen for second-place candidates in the northeast county-centric 55th Assembly District. Ling-Ling Chang finished first with 28.0 percent, followed by Gregg Fritchle with 27.5 percent.

In the coastal 74th District, Newport Beach Councilman Keith Curry won over Huntington Beach Mayor Matt Harper 27.3 percent to 24.5 percent.

And there were no big surprises in the 36th Senate District, with county Supervisor Pat Bates running unopposed and gaining 100 percent of the vote.

Incumbent Assembly members Tom Daly, Travis Allen and Don Wagner were showing comfortable leads.

Finally, in the open race for 45th congressional district, State Senator Mimi Walters took the lead with 45 percent, followed by Democrat Drew Leavens with 29 percent.

You can reach Nick Gerda at, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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