Folsom attorney Andy Pugno completed a come-from-behind win over Democrat Regy Bronner Friday to secure a ballot spot in the November election for a Placer County-based Assembly seat.
The election promises a rerun of a hard-fought primary campaign between Republicans Pugno and incumbent Beth Gaines, who will square off because the state's new "top-two" primary system pits the two highest vote-getters in November, regardless of party.
Gaines, of Rocklin, finished first by a comfortable margin on election night, but Pugno trailed Bronner for second place by 531 votes after precinct votes had been counted by the next morning.
The counting of thousands of provisional, write-in and mail ballots received on election day kept the final outcome in doubt until Friday, when Bronner started the day with a lead of about 95 votes over Pugno.
Pugno overtook Bronner by Friday afternoon, however, when Placer County's final tally of votes favored Pugno over his Democratic opponent by about 800 votes.
All three counties represented by the 6th Assembly District -- Placer, Sacramento and El Dorado -- have completed their ballot count, officials said. The newly drawn district tilts strongly toward the GOP in voter registration.
Friday's outcome leaves Pugno with a decision to make: Months ago, he vowed to step aside and not split the Republican Party by fighting Gaines if she finished ahead of him in the primary. She made no such commitment.
While final votes were being counted in recent weeks, Pugno did not comment publicly about whether he has changed his mind about stepping aside in favor of Gaines if both qualified for the November general election.