Democratic candidate Ken Cooley won an easy primary victory in the newly configured Assembly District 8, according to unofficial results posted early Wednesday morning.
Cooley, a Rancho Cordova city councilman, earned 43 percent of the vote over Republican candidates of Carmichael at 22.3 percent and Barbara Ortega next at 21.0 percent, with all precincts reporting. Three other candidates trailed, including John Thomas Flynn with 6.5 percent, Janice Marlae Bonser at 4.5 percent and Phillip Tufi, a Rosemont businessman who placed last with 3 percent.
Under new primary rules, the two candidates with the most votes regardless of party affiliation will face off in the November general election.
"I’m very pleased with the results and to me they make sense," said Cooley. "I’m close to having double the votes to the next person. I don’t know if that will hold up, but that’s a good place to be."
The close battle for second place was surprising. Tateishi, chief of staff for Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River), was endorsed by The Sacramento Bee and seemingly had an edge.
But Tateishi trailed Ortega until about 11:30 p.m. when he edged ahead.
"As we predicted from our campaign, once votes from people going to the polls started getting counted, things would start to go in our favor," said Tateishi.
District 8 is a new district comprising part of the current District 10, which is represented by Alyson Huber (D-El Dorado Hills). Huber is not running for re-election but did endorse Cooley for the new seat.
"Alyson’s support early on was a key part in the way this race unfolded," said Cooley. "There were other Democrats that thought about running, but she endorsed me at the moment when she decided to step aside."
Four of the six candidates running for District 8 were Republicans, including Tufi. The Rosemont resident, a former executive for Pepsi, said he plans to run again and gained plenty of experience for future campaigns despite his last-place finish.
"It was incredible insight, an incredible experience to have," said Tufi. "I’m thankful I decided to join in. I’ve a wonderful time doing this."