Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer appears headed to the California State Senate after posting a nearly double-digit lead on Election Night in the special runoff election for the District 7 seat.
Glazer, a Democrat, received 60,824 votes or 54.6% to finish comfortably ahead of Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord), who earned 45.4% of the vote, according to unofficial totals released late Tuesday night by the California Secretary of State's Office.
"Today we saw that people are more important -- and more powerful -- than special interests, and that's a great message for our state to hear," Glazer said in a victory statement issued on Facebook just after 11 p.m. Tuesday.
"Our campaign struck a chord with voters frustrated by the gridlock and dysfunction in Sacramento. They want leaders who are more pragmatic than partisan, more focused on answers than ambition," he added.
The special election, contested Tuesday in parts of Alameda and Contra Costa counties, was held to decide who would fill the unexpired term for the 7th State Senate District left vacant when Mark DeSaulnier resigned to join Congress.
Voter turnout stood at about 23.1% between the two counties as of Election Night results, which include most -- but not all -- of the qualifying ballots cast.
Bonilla had not released a statement as of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Glazer, an 11-year Orinda City Council member and a California State University trustee, jumped out to an early lead of 54.5% to 45.5% when the first results were released by state officials soon after polls closed Tuesday evening.
Bonilla, who is in her final term in the State Assembly, could not gain ground as new totals arrived throughout the night.
As a result, Glazer is poised to complete the remainder of DeSaulnier's four-year term set to expire at the end of 2016.
"One new state senator can't change California government on his own, but I hope to work with my colleagues to restore confidence in public policymaking and advance progressive ideals in ways that are financially responsible," Glazer said in his Election Night statement.
Glazer well ahead in each county, earning 56.94% of the Alameda County vote and 54.08% of the Contra Costa County vote.
Contra Costa had the higher voter participation, sitting at 24.76% (almost 91,600 of the eligible 369,878 voters), as of Election Night. Alameda County turnout came in at roughly 17.79% (20,525 voters of the registered 115,342).
The unofficial election results include early vote-by-mail tallies and totals reported by 100% of the precincts on Election Night. The election figures will likely change in the coming days as final vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots and other qualifying ballots are processed, according to the California Secretary of State.
The 7th District includes Pleasanton, Livermore and Sunol at the south end, Brentwood, Antioch, Pittsburg and Concord to the north, Orinda, Lafayette and Walnut Creek to the west, and the San Ramon Valley.
For more details about the unofficial Election Night results, visit the state website.