With the latest ballot count update this evening, Irvine Mayor Don Wagner cemented his lead of former Rep. Loretta Sanchez in the 3rd Supervisor District special election.
8,283 ballots were counted today, and Wagner widened his lead over Sanchez from 2,980 voters to 3,413. In contrast to the post-election counting last November, the Republican’s lead over the Democrat increased with every update.
Wagner’s new lead is greater than the number of ballots left to count: 2,698.
Stick a fork in it: this election is done.
Wagner himself declared victory today, according to the OC Register:
“I’m declaring victory and thanking the voters of the 3rd Supervisorial District for their trust. I ran for it and I wanted it because they do good, important work on the Board of Supervisors, and I’m very much looking forward to doing some of that work to solve the county’s problems.”
Sanchez has not yet conceded defeat.
The conventional wisdom among most political insiders was that Sanchez would win. And has been the case more often than not in recent years, the conventional wisdom was wrong.
Wagner’s victory is a much needed win for hungry Orange County Republicans, who desperately needed the psychological boost after the Blue Wave disaster that crashed over the party in November.
“I congratulate Supervisor-Elect Wagner on his victory. It is an understatement to say all odds were against us in this election,” said OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker. “Many naysayers had written off this race because of the votes splitting. Loretta Sanchez thought she’d walk into this seat.”
“We refused to accept that fate. Determined to reverse the “blue wave” we dug deeper, worked harder and became stronger. The results speak for themselves,” said Whitaker. “The Orange County Comeback starts now. We not only competed with the Democrats’ public employee union based campaign – we defeated it.”
At the same time, this is a deflating result for over-confident Orange County Democrats, who seemed to take it for granted that Sanchez – as the only Democrat in the race – would emerge the winner over multiple Republican candidates.