Previously the two candidates, among others, squared off in a May 21 primary special election following the unexpected resignation of former SD 16 Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Bakersfield.
Neither candidate garnered the 50 plus 1 percent vote needed to win outright, which triggered the special run-off election set for Tuesday, July 23 under the guidelines of Proposition 14 (2010). Vidak, a local farmer and relative new comer to the political scene, almost bested Perez, a current Kern County Supervisor, in the May election. The SD 16 race was considered an easy victory for Perez and Senate Democrats given her high name recognition and her Democratic predecessor. That said, Vidak was actually declared the primary winner at one point; however, his victory was short lived and nullified by an onslaught of absentee mail-in ballots that resulted in a Vidak vote margin of 49.8 percent to Perez’s 43.9 percent – or a difference of 3,756 votes.
Should Vidak win, Democrats could possibly see their current 27-vote supermajority slip away in 2014. Under the 2011 statewide district redraw, it’s looking as though Senate Democrats may lose a seat or two in the election shuffle next year; thus, making SD 16 all the more important to both parties.