With vote count updates released by Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties today, Republican Tony Strickland has taken a lead that, while not quite decisive, is certainly commanding. Strickland is now up 2,141 votes over Democrat Hannah-Beth Jackson.
Jackson's camp still believes it can make up 2,000 or more votes from the pool of about 15,000 provisional ballots, but Strickland's lead may be now pressing the outside of the envelope of what Jackson can make up.
The results so far validate a redistricting decision made in 2001. The first maps of the district, approved by the Senate Elections Committee, included the Santa Clara River Valley in Ventura County. But some GOP insiders suspected the district as it first existed wasn't quite Republican enough to ensure a GOP victory. As a result, Santa Paula and Fillmore were sliced out of and a sliver of Los Angeles County that was rich in Republican voters was pasted on.
So here's how that worked out. In 2008, Jackson is up by nearly 2,000 votes in the main portion of the district in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. But Strickland is up by more than 4,000 (out of only about 27,000 total votes) in Los Angeles County.