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A Sacramento County Assembly race touted as one of California's most competitive just tilted slightly more to the left.

Voter registration statistics posted by the secretary of state's office today showed that Assembly District 8 has gained 6,256 Democrats since May, while Republican ranks have dropped by 665.

The news was applauded by the campaign of Democrat Ken Cooley but downplayed by that of Peter Tateishi, the Republican candidate. Assembly District 8 stretches from Citrus Heights to the Sacramento County line south of Wilton.

Democrats now lead in District 8 voter registration by more than 4 percentage points - 41.3 percent to 37.2 percent. The gap between the two parties was less than 1 percentage point in May.

"I think it's great news that this Democratic surge is washing over the district," said Andrew Acosta, Cooley's campaign strategist. "I'll take a 7,000-vote advantage any day of the week. It looks like things are moving in our direction."

But Tateishi's spokesman, Jim Nygren, said that registration tends to ebb and flow. Many people who register to vote so late in an election year tend not to submit ballots, he added.

"We feel very good about the race, and the district is very competitive," Nygren said. "I think it's the best district not held by a Republican."

Statewide, the gap between Democrats and Republicans remained at about 13 percentage points - 43 percent to 30 percent, respectively.

Democrats lead in voter registration by nearly 11 percentage points in Sacramento County and 22 percentage points in Yolo. Republicans lead in Placer and El Dorado by 20 percentage points and 15 percentage points, respectively.


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