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Assemblyman Ben Hueso poised to take state Senate seat

Assemblyman Ben Hueso poised to take state Senate seat
Assemblyman Ben Hueso (D-San Diego)
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Assemblyman Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) on Tuesday won a special election for the 40th Senate District seat vacated when Juan Vargas moved on to Congress.

With all precincts reporting, Hueso garnered 52% of the vote, according to the unofficial tally Tuesday night, which is enough to avoid a May runoff against one of the other three candidates in the race.

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A victory restores a supermajority that the Democrats gained in the state Senate after the November election but briefly lost because of resignations.

The other Democrat in the contest was nurse/author Anna Nevenic, from Cathedral City. The Republican candidates were businessman Hector Raul Gastelum and professor/businesswoman Xanthi Gionis.

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Voters in the 32nd Senate District also went to the polls to fill a vacancy when Democrat Gloria Negrete McLeod of Chino moved on to Congress.

With 100% of precincts reporting, no candidate received a majority of the vote in the heavily Democratic district.

As a result, there will be a May 14 runoff between the top two vote-getters: Democratic Assemblywoman Norma Torres of Pomona, who received 43.6% of the vote, and Ontario Mayor Paul S. Leon, a Republican who garnered 26.4%.

Other Democratic candidates in that race were San Bernardino County Auditor-Controller Larry Walker of Chino, Ontario City Councilman Paul Vincent Avila and Joanne T. Gilbert, a retired teacher from Rialto. 

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Pomona Planning Commissioner Kenny Noble was the other Republican in the race.

Negrete McLeod endorsed Walker, while Torres had a larger campaign treasury and the endorsement of the California Democratic Party.

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patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com



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