Rubio's surprise resignation in February spurred a special election in the district he represented, which has since been redrawn into oblivion. It initially appeared that Republican farmer Andy Vidak built a big enough lead in last week's 16th Senate District election to avert a runoff, but the Secretary of State's official results show Vidak dipping below the needed 50-percent-plus-one margin.
That means Vidak and his Democratic challenger, Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez, will square off in a July 23 general election. Vidak still bested Perez by a few percentage points -- the final tally gave him 49.8 percent to Perez's 43.9 percent -- but a field cleared of other candidates could shake things up.
A Vidak win would not deprive Senate Democrats of their two-thirds super majority, but it would reduce it to a more precarious 28-12 margin -- one more than what they need to retain their ability to do things like pass new taxes or constitutional amendments without Republican input.
PHOTO CREDIT: Leticia Perez has a reason to smile.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified Andy Vidak as Michael.