Republican candidate Andrew Do pulled ahead today as officials continue to count ballots in yesterday’s special election for First District county supervisor.

Do is leading by 239 votes, up from his two-vote lead at the end of election night, according to results posted at 5 p.m. by the county Registrar of Voters.

He has 18,230 votes, with challenger Lou Correa at 17,991 votes, a 0.5 percent margin among the 46,419 votes counted so far between five candidates.

At least 1,800 ballots are known to be outstanding.  If all those ballots hold up, Correa would need the remaining votes to tilt by at least 240 in his favor over Do to take the lead.

However, one unknown variable is vote-by-mail ballots received by the Registrar between now and Friday night, a new factor set up by Correa legislation last year that allows Election Day mail-in ballots to be counted.  Those ballots could easily affect the final tally.

The election has many political observers hanging on the edge of their seats, given the tight results and high stakes.

Do emerged at the end of election night with a razor-thin lead of two votes, with over 6,100 ballots left to count at the time.

Do is lawyer and a former chief of staff to state Sen. Janet Nguyen when she was a county supervisor. Correa most recently served as a state Senator representing central Orange County.

Whoever wins the race will occupy one of the five seats on the powerful Board of Supervisors, which oversees the county government of more than 3 million people and oversees a budget of more than $5 billion.

The county government is responsible for numerous law enforcement, public health, social services, mental health services, parks, tax collection and other key services that affect the daily lives of county residents.

Wednesday’s ballot counting was of vote-by-mail ballots dropped off on election day, according to the county’s top elections official, Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley.

More than 1,200 provisional ballots will be reviewed starting at about 9 a.m. Thursday morning, Kelley said.

Final election results should be certified sometime between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday, he added.

Before the final tally, updated results in the election are expected at 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

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

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