Voters in the 28th Senate District have re-elected late Democratic Sen. Jenny Oropeza, setting the stage for a special election early next year.
Oropeza, who had been battling illness much of the year, died unexpectedly last month at age 53. Because the Long Beach Democrat died so close to the election, her name remained on the ballot.
Oropeza's name won handily on the ballot, thanks in part to a 20-point registration advantage for Democrats. She leads Republican John Stammreich, 58.4 percent to 35.7 percent, according to the latest vote count from the secretary of state.
A special election to fill the vacant seat will be called in early December when lawmakers are sworn in. The contest is set to be the first primary conducted using the "top two" system approved by voters last June.