Melanie Mason, Patrick McGreevy
June 3, 2014

Republicans were the top vote-getters in early election returns for key legislative primary races Tuesday, indicating an uphill battle for Democrats seeking to regain their supermajority in November.

In the state Senate, Democrats hope to win back the supermajority they lost in March when one member took a leave to fight criminal charges. He and two others charged with crimes were subsequently suspended.

Early returns Tuesday indicated the Democrats’ candidates were trailing in three key contests, although the final decision of voters will have to wait until the November general election.

The last redrawing of district boundaries gave Democrats an edge in voter registration in all three, even though two of the seats, both in the San Joaquin Valley, are held by Republicans.

In two contests, Tuesday’s primary was a re-hearsal for the general election in November, when the same two candidates will compete again.

In the new 14th District, Sen. Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) was ahead of his sole challenger, Fresno Unified School Board member and Democrat Luis Chavez, in initial returns.

In the 12th Senate District, Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) held a big lead over his only opponent, Shawn K. Bagley, a Democrat and produce broker from Salinas. Both are moving on to the general election in a district where Democrats dominate.

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