After two days of recounting, former Assemblyman Juan Vargas is maintaining his paper-thin lead over Assemblywoman Mary Salas for the Democratic nomination in the 40th Senate District, which covers the state's southernmost region in San Diego, Riverside and Imperial counties.
Vargas had a 22-vote lead over Salas in the final electronic tally of the June 8 election. She sought a recount in San Diego and Riverside county portions of the district. The first two days of precinct-by-precinct manual recounting produced a handful of vote changes but no net difference.
Although the duel is between two Democrats, it pitted Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who backs Salas, and his union allies against a coalition of business groups that support Vargas as a more moderate, business-friendly Democrat. The district has an overwhelming Democratic voter registration so the eventual nominee is certain to succeed Sen. Denise Moreno Ducheny, the Senate's top budget negotiator, who is being forced out of the Legislature by term limits.